9136 - Challenges of the republican state by transnational economic clusters - The soy sector in Argentina and Bolivia

The relations between political centre and periphery represent central cleavages, which have to be re-negotiated in an ongoing state building process in every historic phase since foundation of the republics in Bolivia and Argentina in the 19th century. The core argument of this paper is that territorially rooted power struggles are interlinked with the asymmetric export performances of different subnational regions. Spatially different export performances are based on the territorially unequal distribution of renewable and non-renewable natural resources. Especially current dynamics in the soy sector indicate that economic forefronts can be highly entangled with the world economy as a part of transnational economic clusters (like the so called “República Unida de la Soja”). Nevertheless, the central state aims to integrate centre and periphery regions as parts of the republic while it seeks to regain the control over revenues from economic key sectors. Therefore, ongoing re-negotiations of state constructions and people´s sovereignty as the ideal of the republic are intrinsically confronted with shifting territorial and transnationally entangled economic constellations, which contribute to the breakup of national ‘containers’. Our analytical framework is inspired by the critique on “methodological nationalism” and takes into account the historical background of the dispute between unitarian and federal aims in Argentina and Bolivia. We explore both conflictive dynamics between economic and political elites in the farmer strike in Argentina as well as racialized conflicts in the autonomy movement in Santa Cruz (Bolivia) in 2008, connecting re-negotiations of notions of the political community with export driven policies as a result of the neoliberal decade.

Keywords: centre-periphery, federalism, natural resources

Author: Ramirez-Voltaire, Simon (Freie Universität Berlin, Germany / Deutschland)
Co-Author: Rauchecker, Markus (Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany / Deutschland)


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