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Browsing by Author "Gutierrez Zamora, Violeta"

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  • Gutierrez Zamora, Violeta (2014)
    Currently La Via Campesina plays an important role in the political field of food and agriculture, and as some scholars from rural and development studies have highlighted (Desmarais 2007; Patel 2006; Wittman 2009; Martínez-Torres and Rosset 2010; Borras 2010) it has increased the visibility of peasants and other agrarian workers among international actors within the international political field of food and agriculture. In addition, La Via Campesina has challenged important concepts used in international development agencies, such as food security, with the formulation of new notions like Food Sovereignty. For long time the neglected voices of peasants are gaining recognition in the international arena and thereby contributing in political debates over rural development and more recently in environmental sustainability. Nevertheless, as some activists have declared and researchers have exposed (Edelman 2003, Borras 2010; Desmarais 2007, 2008) bringing together such diverse organizations has not been an easy task and requires great efforts. Few scholars (Desmarais 2007, Borras 2008) have analyzed the relationships between organizations within this transnational social movement and there is a trend of studying La Via Campesina on a world scale and assumed as a homogenous actor. This leads to a problematic supposition that La Via Campesina is a homogenous unity rather than a field of action (Borras, 2010) where different identities, claims and contexts converge, and as such cannot be free of conflicts. The aim of this Master’s thesis is to explore the dynamics between La Via Campesina as a transnational social movement and two Mexican peasant organization members of the movement: Unión Nacional de Organizaciones Regionales Campesinas Autónomas (UNORCA) and Asociación Nacional de Empresas Comercializadoras de Productores del Campo (ANEC). The former has been one of the key founding members of La Vía Campesina and remain the main organization functioning as a representative within the Regional Coordination; the later has had a limited involvement in the recent years and has questioned the effectiveness of participation in La Via Campesina’s representation structures, particularly in the North American region. The findings of this thesis present that empty signifiers as 'Peasant' and 'Food sovereignty' enables that these groups achieve to develop temporary attachments in which they perceive themselves as part of this transnational movement.However, in Mexico both organizations have had persistent differences and conflicts that did not allow them to work together in the construction of common strategies. Consequently, this blocked the construction of a solid coalition with La Via Campesina North American regional coordination.