The Amerikas Colloquium
Facundo Rivarola (Graduate Institute Geneva):
River’s Rights – People’s Rights? Urbanizing Nature and Socio-Ecological Conflicts in Asunción, Paraguay
In recent years, there has been an emerging debate about the “right of nature” and “nature’s jurisprudence.” From rivers to forests to animals, holders or claimants of rights are no longer presumed to be exclusively “human.” This research centers on the case of the Paraguayan river and marginalized indigenous/mestizo communities’ struggle over access to urban spaces in the city of Asunción. State-run new urban redevelopment projects deem that floodplains areas of the city “rightfully” belong to the river, and that marginalized communities living there should move elsewhere. However, these areas, known as Bañados, were never empty floodplains. Indigenous, mestizos and rural migrant communities have lived there since colonial times, forming a historically rooted socio-ecology with the neighboring river. This project aims to understand the way(s) in which the recent urban redevelopment projects in Asunción create a socio-ecological conflict between what is understood as the “rights” of the river (to space, to flow, to inhabit, etc.) in direct contradiction to that of marginalized urban communities. It combines ethnographic accounts in different locations of Asunción city and state institutions with oral histories and archival research. In this way, this research engages with a number of nascent theoretical conversations in the “more-than-human” approaches, post-colonial critique, and urban political ecology. From an empirical and theoretical discussion, the goal is to advance understandings about novel forms of governing people and the “environment.” This is ever more problematic in an era marked both by climate change as well as greater social, political, and economic inequalities.
When? Thursday, 17 June 2021, 18:15
Where? Zoom-Meeting. Get the Link by writing an email to