Lecture by Violeta Gutiérrez Zamora | Biopolitics in Community Forestry: Indigenous Peoples, Women’s Bodies and Forest

Date: Thursday 2 May, 12:30-13:30 | Location: Leeuwenborch C68

Violeta is a Mexican sociologist, living and working in Helsinki and Joensuu, Finland. She works as an early stage researcher at the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) and is currently writing her doctoral dissertation based on the project: Power, Conflict, and Collaboration in Community Forestry: The case of Oaxaca, Mexico (CoForMex). In this project, she brings insights from feminist and decolonial political ecology and ethnographic research to bear on community forestry and territorial forms of environmental governmentality in Mexico. Violeta is a founding member of the Research Group Environment, Society and Development in Latin America (ESDLA) at the Department of Geographical and Historical Studies at UEF. She holds a Masters of Social Sciences Degree from the University of Helsinki and a Bachelor’s Degree (Licenciatura) in Sociology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Violeta has also been activist for human rights in grassroots organizations like Sin Fronteras I.A.P in Mexico, Maanvoima Collective and more recently with Somos La Colectiva in Finland.

This presentation aims to understand the dynamics of both protecting and abandoning specific forms of non-human and human life (based on race and gender) through their inclusion or exclusion in community-based forest management and in what way such dynamics are displayed on socio-territorial conflicts. Through the understanding of biopower as a technique of governing in community-based forestry, this paper discusses the process of subjectivation via the insertion of the knowledge and bodies of indigenous peoples in general and indigenous women in particular into disciplining practices to reproduce specific forms of “productive life” and with the aim of securing them. At the same time, despite the subjectivization of indigenous peoples, as holders of right over forests, the socio-territorial conflicts between communities reveal the state control over populations and “making them live or letting them die”


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