The University of Arizona

Production/destruction in Latin America

Javiera Barandiarán, Casey Walsh


Abstract Rural production has long been a central topic for social sciences and history of Latin America, and scholars have noted the ways that societies and environments form around productive systems. Inspired by Gastón Gordillo's 2014 book Rubble, this article introduces a Special Section of the JPE that shifts the focus to the inseparably destructive aspects of production. We acknowledge the temporal dynamics of booms and busts in Latin American commodity production, but challenge recent tendencies to glorify destruction as necessarily and positively creative. Framing the issue as a question for Science and Technology Studies, we argue that treating technologies as rubble can shed light on dynamics of historical change, social contestation, and environmental destruction that are too often overlooked. Key words: environment, Latin America, creative destruction, Rubble, science and technology

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