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La producción del espacio social en la Amazonía brasileña a través de las represas hidroeléctricas: El caso del conflicto de Belo Monte
The production of social space in Brazilian Amazon through hydroelectric dams: The case of Belo Monte ́s conflict

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Villa Hervás, Ismael de la (2020) La producción del espacio social en la Amazonía brasileña a través de las represas hidroeléctricas: El caso del conflicto de Belo Monte. Revista de Relaciones Internacionales (45). pp. 185-204. ISSN 1699-3950

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Official URL: https://revistas.uam.es/relacionesinternacionales/article/view/11582



Abstract

Durante las últimas décadas en Brasil se ha producido un incremento significativo de los conflictos hidrosociales a causa de la construcción de grandes complejos hidroeléctricos. Esta extensión de grandes proyectos de carácter extractivista en la región amazónica, sobre todo a partir de finales de la década de los años ochenta del siglo pasado, han conllevado todo un conjunto de transformaciones en las relaciones sociales, productivas y reproductivas, de cara avanzar en mecanismos para la integración regional y nacional, así como para la superación de crisis de acumulación propias de la escala global. Entre todos, por su trascendencia y dilatación en el tiempo, probablemente el que más destaca es el de la represa de Belo Monte en el río Xingú, próximo a la ciudad de Altamira. En él se ven involucrados una multiplicidad de actores (comunidades indígenas, campesinos, pescadores, el estado, Eletrobras, constructoras, instituciones supranacionales, etc) cuya disputa por el acceso a los recursos hídricos supone una modificación de la configuración de las relaciones de poder que se dan en el territorio. Este artículo, además de analizar el recorrido espacio-temporal de dicho conflicto, se propone dos objetivos adicionales. Por un lado la elaboración de un marco teórico, que conjugue las perspectivas de la producción de la naturaleza, la producción del espacio y la construcción de la escala, que pueda ser aplicado al análisis de conflictos ambientales que tienen lugar en el Sur Global. Por otro lado, y en consecuencia, a través de su empleo en el estudio de este caso particular, determinar las fortalezas y debilidades que presenta para su uso en futuros trabajos similares. De cara a ello se plantea una metodología basada en la revisión bibliográfica y el uso tanto de fuentes primarias como secundarias, mediante las cuales se puedan extraer y analizar el conjunto de prácticas, representaciones y relaciones que dan forma al conflicto en sí mismo. A su vez, el artículo se divide en cuatro partes principales: el planteamiento de articulación entre las distintas categorías y aspectos de los planteamientos teóricos para su uso en el estudio de caso; el análisis del desarrollo espacio-temporal del conflicto, desde el inicio de la planificación del proyecto hasta día de hoy; en tercer lugar se explica y detalla el papel de los actores hegemónicos en el avance de la construcción del complejo hidroeléctrico; y en última instancia se lleva a cabo la misma operación pero con los actores subalternos implicados. De entre los resultados obtenidos, destaca cómo este proyecto a nivel particular, y los macroproyectos hidroeléctricos en general en la región, han sido fundamentales para la integración económica en el marco de la extensión de las relaciones de producción capitalistas y los mecanismos para la acumulación a través de la realización del plusvalor, derivando resistencias ante este proceso de extracción. Así mismo, la perspectiva interescalar y la de la producción del espacio muestran potencialidades como marco para el estudio de conflictos ambientales, mientras que el de la producción de la naturaleza lo hace de manera parcial.

Resumen (otros idiomas)

During the last decades in Brazil there has been a significant increase in hydrosocial conflicts due to the construction of large hydroelectric complexes, which involve qualitative and quantitative changes regarding access and ownership of water. It has opened a new period of accumulation and transformation of production relations through the commodification of this important resource. This has seen the extension of large projects of an extractivist nature in the Amazon region, especially from the end of the eighties of last century, after the settlement of the so-called Washington consensus. This phenomenon led to a whole series of transformations in productive, reproductive and social relations, in order to provide mechanisms for regional and national integration, as well as for overcoming accumulation crises emanating from the global scale. In the Brazilian case, these reforms undertaken in recent decades in the political, social, environmental, economic and legislative realms, have not meant a major change in the productive level of the world-economy scale, since the peripheral role of the country, initiated during the colonial period, is still maintained. But they have deepened their dependence through the extractivist development model, highlighting among other practices (such as the advance of the agricultural frontier, large soybean crops, the deployment of fracking to increase income derived from hydrocarbons, etc. .) the large hydroelectric complexes located throughout the country’s vast hydrographic basin. The main goal of this kind of new structure is to produce higher levels of energy, largely dedicated to the processing of aluminium, whose demand has increased exponentially in recent years in states such as China, among other members of BRICS .From all these hydroelectric structures, probably the one that stands out the most is the Belo Monte dam on the Xingú river, near to the city of Altamira, due it its importance and expansion over time. A multiplicity of actors are involved in this one (indigenous communities, fishing farmers, the State, Eletrobras, non-governmental organizations, indigenous confederations, construction companies, supranational institutions, etc.), and whose dispute over access to water resources implies a modification of the configuration of the power relations that take place in the territory. In spite of the fact that its planning began in 1975, within the framework of the search for a better use of the country’s hydroelectric potential and to boost economic development and energy sovereignty, the advances and setbacks in the settlement of the operation of the infrastructure have been delayed until today and probably will continue in the near future. This paper not only aims to analyze the spatio-temporal path of this controversial conflict, but proposes two additional objectives. On the one hand, the elaboration of a theoretical framework that combines the perspectives of the production of nature, the production of space and the construction of scale, which could be applied to the analysis of other environmental conflicts that take place in the global south. On the other hand, and as a consequence of its use in this particular case, it seeks to determine the strengths and weaknesses of this theoretical framework for future similar work. Hitherto the majority of the works and papers related to this case study are focused on the contentious politics of social movements and communities to stop the development of the project. A significant number also analyze the contradictions of PT through the Brazilian state regarding the different social impacts of the dam. This article aims to go further and provide tools and categories to explain the practices, relations and structures which are involved this process.In view of this, a methodology based on bibliographic review, and the use of both primary and secondary sources is proposed. Through this method, it is possible to outline the set of practices, representations and relationships that shape the conflict itself. In turn, to achieve this end, the article is divided into four main parts. In the first, an articulation approach is developed between the different categories and aspects of the theoretical gazes for their uses in the case study. In relation with the perspective of the production of nature, originally developed by Neil Smith, the categories of use value and exchange value are fundamental. These, through their dialectic within relations of production, modify through the passing of time the metabolism that takes place between nature and society itself, generating conflicts where these changes imply a clash between two modes of production. With this fact different values prevail over the environmental resources, whose access is sought to continue the process of social reproduction. In addition to this, the proposed framework take in count the categories of spatial practices, representations of space and spaces of representation, formulated by Henri Lefebvre, in order to explain how changes in power relations involve changes in the space in which they are inserted and vice versa. Furthermore, with the interscalar perspective proposed by several scholars that are mentioned, the possibility of explaining how phenomena and actors from different scales influence the local one during the long development of the conflict. Subsequently, in the second section of the paper, the analysis of the spatio-temporal development of the conflict is carried out, from the beginning of project planning, through the modifications carried out by the different governments, the changes in the positions of the actors, the different law resolutions, the granting of licenses and so on, until today.Thirdly, the role of hegemonic actors in advancing the construction of the hydroelectric complex is explained and detailed, for which it is not only important to analyze the different representations and narratives carried out by different governments with respect to the project of Belo Monte, but also how state hydroelectric companies (Eletrobras and Eletronorte) are affected by the entrance of foreign capital, changing over time the spatial practices that are carried out, as well as the different positions of the institution responsible for the granting of environmental licenses to allow the dam activity (IBAMA). At the end, in the last part, the same operation is made but with the subordinate actors involved, which basically would be the local and foreign non-governmental organizations, as well as the communities of indigenous, peasant and fishermen of the locality. For them, the river fundamentally supposes a use value insofar as it is used as a source of resources and transportation to maintain pre-capitalist production relations on which they are sustained. Obviously these activities have a low exchange value produced through its limited technology to harvesting and fishing, that finally are destined for local trade.The main results which can be highlighted are related with how this dam in particular, and the different hydroelectric projects in general along the region, allow to extend spatially an economic integration through the deployment of new relations of production and mechanisms for accumulation. These ones suppose an appearance of new use values, exchange values and values that clash against the previous ones thus producing the social struggle in the local scale around the dam. Furthermore, the frameworks of the scale and the production of social space show as useful theories for its application to future cases of environmental conflicts, meanwhile the production of nature framework shows some difficulties in order to use some of its categories for the case study

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Belo Monte, Conflicto hidrosocial, Producción del espacio, Amazonia, Teoría del valor
Subjects:Social sciences > Political science
Social sciences > Political science > Political theories
Social sciences > Sociology > Ecology
Social sciences > Sociology > Social movements
ID Code:63028
Deposited On:12 Nov 2020 08:07
Last Modified:12 Nov 2020 08:07

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