Soil erosion and social (dis)courses in Cochabamba, Bolivia: perceiving the nature of environmental degradation

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Abstract

Soil erosion in Cochabamba, Bolivia, has not been perceived uniformly by development institutions, peasants in their personal perspectives, and rural trade unions. Development institutions that attributed soil erosion to peasant farmers voiced the most well-known perceptions about the erosion dilemma until the mid-1980s. The personal perspectives of many peasants reinforced this view by placing blame on their own behaviour. Since the 1980s, these dominant discourses have been implicitly contested by the viewpoints of numerous peasants (especially young adults) who stress links between government policies and worsening erosion. Different perceptions of soil erosion among and within the three groups were shaped by contrasting livelihood experiences and by differing efforts at shaping conservation programs and related development measures. This study demonstrates the importance to conservation-oriented development of understanding the perceptions of local inhabitants and institutions with respect to biophysical resources in general and environmental degradation in particular. -Author

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-327
Number of pages16
JournalEconomic Geography
Volume69
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economics and Econometrics

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