Journal article Open Access

Marking the territory. The conflict over the construction of a casino in a fishing community. San Pedro Pescador, Colonia Benitez, Chaco, Argentina (2010-2011) (in Spanish)

Nidia Bibiana Piñeyro

This paper addresses a process of territorial dispute between a a riverine fishing community who reacted to an official project aimed at opening an entertainment center with a casino in its neighborhood. The conflict is interpreted as a significant local incident within a chain of influential events in the recent development of the freshwater fishing industry on the banks of the Parana river, in the Province of Chaco, Argentina. It presents an analysis in terms of the State’s hegemonic construction of meanings associated with a territory, and of the community’s resistance to the project. The available data (legal documents, journalistic and social media reports, official advertising, fieldwork, including participant observation, during the resistance in the neighborhood from its beginnings to the resolution of the conflict, meetings reports from the Provincial Legislature, and from a Public Hearing) constitute the empirical material that was revisited drawing on the conceptual contributions of studies on the construction of hegemony and consensus, symbolic domination, explicit forms of resistance, and the processes by which a physical space acquires and reaffirms meanings.

 

This article has been published as part of Volume 4, Number 4 of the WATERLAT-GOBACIT Working Papers (http://waterlat.org/publications/working-papers-series/).

This is the first issue developed by members of the WATERLAT-GOBACIT Network’s Thematic Area 10, Water and Violence (http://waterlat.org/thematic-areas/ta10/). It is based on papers first presented at the session “Water and violence: scenarios and manifestations in Latin America”, during the Network’s VIII International Meeting, that took place in San Jose, Costa Rica, on 3-7 April 2017 (http://waterlat.org/meetings/public-meetings/waterlat-gobacit-ix-2018/). The papers are the result of ongoing research covering cases from Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico, which exemplify the wide range of forms of violence being exercised against local communities, mainly related to the rapid expansion of extractivist activities including large-scale open cast mining, building of large dams for hydroelectricity or the territorial spread of hydrocarbon production through new technological developments, among other. The papers provide supporting evidence for the increasing claims made in the relevant literature showing that violence is too often the result of a connivance between governments, extractivist industries and organized criminal gangs, which account for the considerable number of people being tortured, disappeared or even murdered in Latin America for defending their territories, natural resources, and living conditions. The authors also address successful cases of community resistance against the violent expropriation of their territories and living conditions, which are imposed on them by aggressive neoliberal reforms that are highly undemocratic and regressive in socio-economic and political terms.

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