Project and Territory: Salmon Farming and Social Transformations in the Island of Chiloé, Chile
Author: Beatriz Bustos-Gallardo, Gonzalo Delamaza, Ricardo Rivas

Commodity territories bear the marks of contested trajectories of material and discursive elements that legitimize the prevailing mode of production. This paper proposes that the implementation and expansion of the commoditization project led by the salmon industry in Chile over the last forty years has produced different kinds of conflict and particular types of social mobilization. We argue that the salmon project in Chile has created fragmented subjects unable to effectively counteract the territorial transformation. We adopt a long-term perspective, looking at a full cycle of the salmon project in its main territory of operation—the Chiloé Archipelago in southern Chile. We begin by identifying key moments of state intervention (frontier, expansion, crisis) that have driven territorial transformation. We then describe emerging actors and their responses in the form of social conflict and mobilization in order to understand their perceptions of the salmon project. Instances of friction have occurred throughout, during which distributional issues and outcry against the ecological degradation of the shared environment have been critical. However, findings reveal that the fragmentation of social and institutional forces has meant that the grievances raised are not focused on a common goal of transforming the project.

Author: Beatriz Bustos-Gallardo, Gonzalo Delamaza, Ricardo Rivas
Year of Publication: 2021
Journal Title: Journal of Latin American Geography
Keywords: Salmon industry | Chile | commodity territories | regional transformation | social actors
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DOI: 10.1353/lag.0.0167