Bestridt virkelighet - En studie av makt, kunnskap og geografi i konflikt over utvikling i det sørlige Mexico
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The aim of this thesis has been to examine how the historical relation between power, knowledge and geography, that has helped shape reality in the third world through the practice of development, has been contested by alternative visions of society. The thesis thus explores what is the significance of different interpretations of the world. The intent has not been to show the error of one or the other ways of framing reality, but how they have informed and enabled actions and relations of power. The analysis is based on a case study of the conflict that evolved around the development project Plan Puebla Panama and its encounter with the Zapatistas construction of autonomy in the southern part of Mexico. It can thus be seen as a conflict between two relatively clear alternative political projects, and as a part of a larger division in the Mexican society regarding indigenous people, and in the world at large over neoliberalism and globalisation. On a concrete level, the conflict over PPP in Chiapas has concerned the question of possible dislocation of villages in the Comprehensive Biosphere Reserve Montes Azules. I have chosen to approach this case through a discursive perspective. Conflict over development in this way does not only appear to be about land and resources, but becomes also a question of meaning and knowledge. Discourse analysis has sometimes been criticised for lacking the necessary tools for concrete analysis of social and linguistic phenomenon and to be too concerned with language. I have tried to mitigate these problems by, on the one hand, focusing on the narratives told to justify the projects, and, on the other hand, to also consider the material aspect of the discourses by including institutions and how discourses produce space through images and practices.