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The paradox of poverty in rich ecosystems: impoverishment and development in the Amazon of Brazil and Bolivia

Ioris, Antonio A R ORCID: 2016. The paradox of poverty in rich ecosystems: impoverishment and development in the Amazon of Brazil and Bolivia. Geographical Journal 182 (2) , pp. 178-189. 10.1111/geoj.12124

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The article offers an examination of poverty and development in the Amazon, moving beyond the conventional view which places the blame on infrastructure deficiencies, economic isolation or institutional failures. It examines synergistically connected processes that form the persistent poverty-making geography of the Amazon region. The discussion is based on qualitative research conducted in two emblematic areas in Bolivia (Pando) and Brazil (Pará). The immediate and long-term causes of socioeconomic problems have been reinterpreted through a politico-ecological perspective required to investigate the apparent paradox of impoverished areas within rich ecosystems and abundant territorial resources. Empirical results demonstrate that, first, development is enacted through the exercise of hegemony over the entirety of socionature and, second, because poverty is the lasting materiality of development it cannot be alleviated through conventional mechanisms of economic growth based on socionatural hegemony. The main conclusion is that overcoming the imprint of poverty on Amazonian ecosystem entails a radical socioecological reaction. Additionally, the multiple and legitimate demands of low-income groups do not start from a state of hopeless destitution, but from a position of strength provided by their interaction with the forest ecosystems and with other comparable groups in the Amazon and elsewhere.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: poverty, Amazon, state, political ecology, Pará, Pando
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0016-7398
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 April 2017
Date of Acceptance: 1 September 2014
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 00:00

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