Date of Award

2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

Abstract

This dissertation follows the theoretical approach of the food regime scholarship (Friedmann and McMichael, 1989) to understand the process of privatization of seeds and the social and material processes associated with it, known as the Corporate Seed Regime (CSR). the CSR is a transnational regime of governance over the bios (life) born in the post- World-War II period, imagined and enforced by and through the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Bank (McMichael, 2013). in this work, I explain how a corporate seed regime (CSR) has taken form in Colombia. Extant sociological studies on the formation of CSRs explain it as an outcome of transnational and national relationships between states and capital. Using a feminist critical science studies approach, I show how a social movement group, the RSLC, shapes the CSR through specific temporal and spatial orders, processes of gender/race formation, geography, and political history. to do so, I study the actions, practices, and discourses deployed by RSLC members through document analysis, participant observation, and interviews. I reveal how they interpret these policies as mechanisms that further subjugate people's seeds, knowledges, and territories, reproducing colonial and contemporary orders of racial/gendered stratification, and how the RSLC reorders the CSR and the racialized, gendered, and territorial lives of people, through their interactions with seeds and seed epistemes. I develop four core arguments. First, I show that social movement actions shape CSRs, and are forms of generative resistance that simultaneously create territorial, ethnoracial, and gendered relationships with and through seeds. CSR formation is thus ethnoracialized as a technology and a counter-technology of governance. as a technology of governance, ethnorace structures identity, territorial rights and territory itself via agricultural laws. as a counter- technology of governance, ethnoracialized territories, marked out by a history of extraction, are turned by the RSLC into territories that articulate seed and human relationships in a unique way that cannot always be co-opted by the state, technoscientific or financial powers. I found substantial differences in territorial and seed epistemic generative practices and interactions among communities ethnoracialized as indigenous, Afro-Colombian, and mestizos. Second, I demonstrate that agricultural and environmental transformations in Colombia are always entwined with the history of war and the history of the struggle for survival of communities living in the midst of it. Against a backdrop of research that focuses on social movement demobilization in Colombia, I explain that in the case of seed struggles, war and violence have not decreased mobilization, but transformed it. Third, I demonstrate that the Colombian CSR puts rural women in further situations of subordination, reinforcing colonial/capitalist/patriarchy as a system of domination. Finally, I show that the generative character of the RSLC praxis and their connection with other struggles across the world articulate a different positionality of Latin American thought, research, and activism that does not comply with the idea of it being part of a so-called periphery, but stresses its own importance as one of many epicenters of transversal struggles that include oppressed peoples, territories, and knowledges in both the North and the South.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Available for download on Thursday, April 27, 2023

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