Agriculture and livestock at the urban margin
Moates, Adam Shiloh
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This dissertation is a comparative ethnographic study of agricultural and livestock production strategies in peri-urban Montevideo, Uruguay which explores variability in production and cooperative action strategies. The main research questions addressed in this comparative study are: (1) what are the primary factors or conditions that shape urban/peri-urban agricultural and livestock production enterprises, (2) under what conditions do urban agriculturalists organize collective action strategies and, (3) how do municipal politics and institutional linkages influence agricultural and livestock production practices in and around Montevideo. In Montevideo, a rich diversity of urban agricultural strategies and cooperative action involving agriculture and livestock production is practiced. Production strategies and social organization are influenced by many factors in the urban landscape such as shifts in the national economy, urban land-use policy, differential access to resources, variable land-tenure security, and rural-urban and intra-urban migration. In recent years the social landscape of urban and peri-urban Montevideo has been undergoing a transformation as the number of irregular settlements or land invasions increases. The mixing of displaced urban working class families and individuals, commonly referred to as neo-pobres or new poor, well established communities of clasificadores, individuals who “live off the trash,” and family-run organic grower organizations that practice various forms of urban agriculture/livestock production and exhibit a diversity of organizational strategies at the urban margin make Montevideo an ideal study site for this comparative research project. The analysis shows that the three populations strategically create organizations and collective actions strategies to improve their institutional visibility, secure and improve their access to urban resources, and to contest and resist municipal land-use policies and the current push to “regularize” irregular settlements. This research also points to the effects of large-scale political and economic forces on the urban margin and the difficulty in implementing policy therein.
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