| By Anthony Bebbington | Published in the Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 30(1): 7-12 |
Abstract: Characterizing continents is the business of fools, inviting the charge of essentialization, overgeneralization, and caricature of nuanced and complex processes varying across space and over time. Likewise it can attract the criticism that to privilege the national or the regional understates the transnational dimensions of social change, and to take a territorialized view diverts attention from the networks that cut across space, linking distant actors and places. This short essay therefore claims neither to be a reflection on Latin America-wide phenomena, and far less a statement on the most significant aspects of the political economy of the region (see also Klak, 2009, this SJTG forum). It does, however, hope to draw attention to issues that merit greater attention from development and economic geographers, issues that are both relevant for and often related to processes of transformation occurring in other regions of the world. I peg these observations around the notion of extraction because I will argue that across the region the last decade has witnessed – or is soon to witness – a deepening of the extractive economy, that this deepening has involved and elicited an intriguing range of state and societal responses, and that these responses are integral to the production of development geographies. I also suggest that these processes offer much fuel for broader discussions in development and economic geography of neo(and post-neo)liberalisms (Castree, 2008a; 2008b), of the relationships between territory and networks (Bridge, 2008), and of the social production of nature and economy (Prudham, 2005).