World refugee day 2014

Mae Sot is a Western Thailand district that shares a border with Burma.  Last week, on June 20, was the commemoration of the World Refugee Day and I had the chance to visit the Mae La Refugee Camp. According to UNHCR, there are more than 50 million refugees around the world, and half are women and children. Mae…

In the land of a Thousand Smiles

Ten days already in The Land of Smiles: a name that I most times find perfectly accurate but then tuk tuks and motorcycles happen… The smile is an integral part of the Thai body language. The acute intonation of the chanting greeting: Sawatdee Kaaaa goes along with a nice smile, hands to the chin and a slight bow in…

Unnatural Nature

In his work Uncommon Ground: Toward Reinventing Nature, William Cronon presents the case of the old chemical weapons manufacturing center, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in Denver, Colorado. This compound was used for 40 years to produce a long list of toxic substances: aldrin, dieldrin (and all the bad guys with an “in” or “ine” termination), mustard gas, napalm,…

Inflamable: estudio del sufrimiento ambiental

Flammable: Environmental Suffering in an Argentine Shantytown by Javier Auyero, Debora Alejandra Swistun “Knowledge about a poisoned environment, Flammable teaches us, is not solely shaped by what we see and smell and touch […] Experience of that polluted reality is, this book shows, socially and politically produced.” Javier Auyero and Debora Alejandra Swistun Auyero and…

A matter of Power

From difference and identity to power “The relations of different nations among themselves depend upon the extent to which each has developed its production forces, the division of labour and internal intercourse” (Marx 1846: 38). We studied in the first section the interrelation of difference and identity and introduced its relation to power. Difference, identity…

Political Ecology

The appeal to nature as naive reality is often linked to a second major cluster of ideas that surround this word: nature as moral imperative. One need not travel a very great distance in speaking of “the nature of x” to get from “this is the way x really is” to “this is way x…