A Social Network Explanation for Reciprocal Cooperation in Traditional and Mechanized Agricultural Systems in the Secano Interior, Chile

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A Social Network Explanation for Reciprocal Cooperation in Traditional and Mechanized Agricultural Systems in the Secano Interior, Chile
Infante, Felipe H
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University of Florida
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Master's ( M.A.)
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University of Florida
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Agriculture ( jstor )
Ceremonies ( jstor )
Ecology ( jstor )
Economics ( jstor )
Forests ( jstor )
Land degradation ( jstor )
Rural populations ( jstor )
Social capital ( jstor )
Social networking ( jstor )
Socioeconomics ( jstor )
Anthropology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
agriculture -- cooperation -- erosion -- farmer -- land-degradation -- networks
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theses ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
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Anthropology thesis, M.A.


This research explores the configuration and behavior of South Central Chile's small farmers' social networks in order to understand how social capital becomes a fundamental strategy of resilience in particular contexts of socioeconomic and environmental vulnerability. It also examines some social dynamics related to agricultural production, cooperation behavior and traditional activities in this particular context. To understand this configuration I will compare social networks of individual producers from different socioeconomic, environmental, and cultural realities, looking to comprehend how the presence of agricultural machinery, variation in gender, age, among other variables, shape their social networks. ( en )
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by Felipe H Infante.

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2014 Felipe Infante


To my grandmothers; Nena and Tete


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS In the first place I w ould like to express my gratitude to my academic committee for the useful comments, remarks and engagement during the process of this master thesis. Especially to my supervisor Chris topher McCarty for encouraging my research, especially in the early stages when everything seems more diffused and distant. Furthermore I would like to thank Dr. Oyuela Caycedo for all his help during these last two years specially by sharing his advice and knowledge. Also I would like to thank the people of the Secano Interior in Chile, particularly those who have welcomed me in their homes sharing their precious time to answer tedious surveys and long interviews always with a smile in their faces. I would like to thank my partner Carola, who have always supported me through thi s process, not only for this master thesis but in the everyday life, I know all this would be immensely harder without her by my side. Finally I would like to thank my family and friends in Chile, both for their comfort and keeping me harmonious during the se last couple of years, especially to Cecilia Agustin and Nicolas for always been there no matter the distance.


5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 7 LIST OF FIGU RES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 8 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 11 2 ENVIRONMENTAL BACKGROUND ................................ ................................ ...... 17 Ecological Characteristics ................................ ................................ ....................... 17 Historical Ecology ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 20 Current Environmenta l Issues ................................ ................................ ................. 27 3 SOCIO ECONOMIC BACKGROUND ................................ ................................ ..... 30 Political Economy History ................................ ................................ ....................... 30 S ocio Economic Implications ................................ ................................ .................. 34 4 SOCIO CULTURAL BACKGROUND ................................ ................................ ...... 41 Rural Urban Migration ................................ ................................ ............................. 41 Cultural Shift and Migration Implications ................................ ................................ 48 5 OBJECTIVES, SETTINGS AND METHODS ................................ .......................... 53 Research Objectives ................................ ................................ ............................... 53 Overarching Objective: ................................ ................................ ..................... 53 Specific Objectives: ................................ ................................ .......................... 53 Hypotheses ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 54 Specific Research Settings ................................ ................................ ..................... 54 Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 56 Social Networks ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 57 Participant Observation and Mix Methods ................................ .............................. 60 6 RESULTS AND ANALYSIS ................................ ................................ .................... 62 7 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 80 8 LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS ................................ .......................... 85


6 APPENDIX A KEY CONCEPTS GLOSSARY ................................ ................................ ............... 88 B QUESTIONNAIRE ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 91 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 92 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 97


7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 4 1 National population growth index (Base Year: 1960) (INE, 2008). ..................... 43 4 2 Yumbel municipality: Urban rural population variation (1992 2002) (INE, 1992 & 2002). ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 46 6 1 Relationship between network structural measures and machinery ownership variable. ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 76


8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 Secano Interior region map (South central Chile) (Google Maps, 2014). ........... 18 2 2 Chile topographical profile (36 S) (Casanova et al. 2013: 8). ............................ 18 2 3 Changes in main forest trees in recent decades (Casanova et al. 2013: 22). .... 29 3 1 ncome Inequality and trust: Chile in the OECD (OECD, 2011). .......................... 35 3 2 Participation of the richest 1% of the population in total national Income (Lpez et al. 2013). ................................ ................................ ............................. 36 3 3 Gini coefficient in Chile from 1957 to 1996 (So urce: Ruiz Tagle, 1999). ............ 37 3 4 Average farm size by producer category (ODEPA, 2002). ................................ 3 9 3 5 Biobo region: Extreme poverty by economi c activity (CASEN, 2011). ............... 40 4 1 Chile: Process of urbanization (1960 2002) (INE, 2008). ................................ ... 42 4 2 Biobo region: Urban and rural populat ion (1992 & 2002) (INE, 2002). .............. 44 4 3 Biobo region: Household distribution by category (2002) (INE, 2002). .............. 45 4 4 Yumbel municipality : Urban and rural population (1992 & 2002) (INE, 2002). ... 46 5 1 Secano Interior area: Biobo administrative region (Google Maps, 2014). ......... 55 6 1 Network alters age pyramid for machinery owners and traditional producers respondents. ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 64 6 2 74 year old producer network showing alter age in relation to node size. .......... 65 6 3 50 year old female producer network showing gender and age distribution. ...... 66 6 4 Number of alters that own machinery according to respondents in gro ups. ....... 68 6 5 Network showing alter machinery ownership and production ceremonies participation. ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 69 6 6 Numbers of alters and main econo mic activity for both groups. ......................... 70 6 7 Number of alters that participate in production ceremonies according to respondents in groups (traditional producers and machinery owners). .............. 71 6 8 Network showing alter participation machinery ownership. ................................ 72


9 6 9 Distribution of tie strength among machinery owners and traditional tworks. ................................ ................................ .......................... 73 6 10 Biplot chart showing the clustering of variables in relation to respondent profile. ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 78 6 11 K means (principal compone ......................... 79


10 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts A SOC IAL NETWORK EXPLANATION FOR RECIPROCAL COOPERATION IN TRADITIONAL AND MECHANIZED AGRICULTURAL SYSTEM S IN THE SECANO INTERIOR, CHILE By Felipe Infante May 2014 Chair: Christopher McCarty Major: Anthropology This research explores the configuration and behavior of South C entral Chile' s small farmers' social networks in order to understand how social capital becomes a fundamental strategy of resilience in particular contexts of socioeconomic and environmental vulnerability. It also examines some soci al d ynamics related to agricultural production, cooperation behavior and traditional activities in this particular context To understand this configuration I will compare social networks of individual producers from different socioeconomic, environmental, and cultural realities looking to comprehend how the presence of agricultural machinery, variation in gender, age, among other variables, shape their social networks.


11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Just doing the introspective exercise of asking ourselves how our life would change if we lose connection to the people that surround us, like family, friends, coworkers, classmates, etc. we can realize how important social relations are in our life. Social interaction is so important that research suggests social isola tion and exclusion may cause physical pain, this is because physical and social pain operate via common mechanisms (MacDonald and Leary, 2005). There has been a long and continuous debate about why social relations are so important, some theories argue tha t social relations are mainly instrumental, meaning that humans seek to establish relations and factors such as emotional connection, identities, common values, trust among others, However, the present research does not focus on this debate, although it seeks to comprehend part of this phenomenon, the main goal is to understand some of the dynamics behind social relations in a particular socio environmental context, especially the cultural background behind them, which socioeconomic and environmental factors have affected these dynamics in the last decades and how the implications are linked with the current soci al and environmental local issues. All this may s ound presumptuous for a thesis, however the goals are limited to the specific socioeconomic aspects associated with traditional agricultural systems and the shift to a mechanized production in the particular settings of the Secano Interior in Chile.


12 Statement of the problem : In the context of rural South Central Chile, land) there are two main issues that can be identified as hig h priority. First, there is a serious environmental problem related to land degradation, beyond the regional historical background (which will be approached later on), this issue can be classified as part of a macro process of environmental degradation rel ated to the global problem of climate change. In this context, land degradation has been positioned by the international scientific community, as one of the three main current environmental issues (along with water scarcity and the lost of biodiversity) (H urni, 2000: 84 in Ramrez, 2002). Land degradation is defined as a long term loss of ecosystem function and service, caused by disturbance from which the system cannot recover unaided a major global concern for a long time (UNEP, 2007). This environmental issue has been for a long time in the frontline o f global concerns (Andersson et al. 2011); and it has progressively become a priority in the international agenda (UNEP, 1997 & 2007; FAO, 1992) and in the sphere of development and conservation programs (Ra mirez, 2002). This can be perceived through the quantification of the important amount of international projects that incorporated land degradation in their main scope for the last decades (UNCOD, UNCED, UNCCD, WWS, etc). This is mainly attributed to the f act that land 2000 in Gisladottir and Stocking, 2005 : 100 ). Another important characterist ic is that, as many other environmental issues, land degradation progressively becomes a bigger threat every day, where


13 (Ibid.). Is important to explain that dry lands are defined by the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program) as tropical and template areas with and aridity index of les s than 0.65 (UNEP in Hassan, et al. 2005). Furthermore dry lands are also the regions ulations live. The number of poor rural people living in dry lands is estimated to be close to one billion (Dobie, 2001). The lar gest populations living in dryl ands are located in Africa, Asia and South America. In South America around 87 million people li ves in dryland environments, corresponding to the 30 per cent of the total area (Gisladottir and Stocking, 2005). The Secano Interior is clearly one of these regions; it does not only meet the standards of land degradation, but also poverty. It is importan t to point out that in Chile, despite parallel efforts in soil erosion research, there have been few initiatives covering the relation between human behavior and land degradation (Homer an d Casanova, 2011 in Casanova et al. 2013) most of them have focused on farming practices instead of the whole spectrum of human activity, considering that agriculture in dryland environments can be very difficult and demanding. The second priority issue in the Secano Interior is the depopulation of the rural areas. This p probably related to a long imposed in Chile since the 1970 s. Very few institutions and researchers have pointed out this process as a socioec onomic issue, even less have focused on the environmental implications of this phenomena. From a national point of view, rural populations have been decreasing since the 1960 s when 31.8% of the population was rural. At the


14 beginning of th e 2000 s this perce ntage has dropped to a 13.4% (INE, 2002). This process of rural urban migration can be observed in other developing countries, especially with in South America, h owever as it will be explained later on, the Chilean case has many particularities. The demog raphic data will be approached deeply during the next chapter, however at this point it is important to state that for the present research one of the key factors related to land degradation is the process of depopulation. As explained later on, these two phenomena are highly associated and there is the need for a holistic approach concerning not only theories, but also methodologies. While land degradation and rural de population have been addressed as the main issues in the region, these are not the specific objectives for this research per se Although they are the basis of the socioeconomic and environmental dynamics this research aims to address. There are particular social relation factors and implications beneath these dynamics which are the main goals for this particular study. As it will be discussed later, the history and the ecological characteristics of the Secano Interior have resulted in the existence of a ve ry particular kind of traditional agriculture system. In order for this system to function it requires mainly human labor, this implies the use of hand tools and animals, especially for tillage. In the same way that it has happened around the world these t raditional agricultural technologies and methods are been replaced by mechanized systems, having motorized tillage and harvest becoming the agricultural cornerstone for the last decades. This Green Revolution has become a real boost for production around t he world, however this has


15 not been an uniform process for all the producers. The case of the Secano Interior is a great example of how some technologies that can be extremely helpful for some at the same time may harm other kind of producers. As it will b e discussed, the introduction of agricultural machinery, especially through the process of agricultural extension, helped to materialize the high national socioeconomic inequality into the rural production systems; clearly the costs for this gy cannot be covered by the small producers. Also the machinery cost is only a part of the story, the change into an entire new model of agricultural production involves new expenses (fuel, specific fertilizers, machine operators, training, etc.), which ma kes this shift only possible for the wealthier producers. From an economic point of view, this transition has also completely changed the internal markets, where much bigger volumes are required, with new standards that involve more costs. The majority of the producers cannot compete in these new settings, not to mention all the international market factors, which are detrimental even for the biggest producers in Chile. machinery introdu ction in traditional production systems, however, understanding the infrastructural importance of these factors, the present research seeks to attach a less conventional theory to this complex problem; the socio cultural factors and implications, especiall y in the social networks. Also, as it will be explained later, the characteristics behind these social networks are highly embedded in the ecological characteristics of the region, thus it is important to introduce this research as an attempt to holistica lly bring together preliminary socio


16 cultural, economic and ecological explanations to the current decayed state of the Secano Interior.


17 CHAPTER 2 ENVIRONMENTAL BACKGROUND Ecological Characteristics The geography of Chile tells the history of a series of drastic geological, southwestern corner o f South America, it is the southernmost country in the world. It stretches over 4,300 km (2,670 mi) north to south, but only 350 km (217 mi) at its widest point (east to west). This implies the presence of a huge variety of climates and landscapes. One of these is the Mediterranean climate, the particularities related to this climate can be found only in a few areas around the world (Mediterranean Basin, Napa Valley, Western and South Australia and Cape of South Africa). It is important to mention the above because the Secano Interior is located right on the Mediterranean region of Chile, and shares most of the ecological characteristics of this climate, however as it will be explained, the socio cultural and historical characteristics of this region have cr eated some very particular socio environmental dynamics.


18 Figure 2 1. Secano Interior region map (South c entral Chile) (Google Maps, 2014). The Mediterranean climate area of Central Chile, in particular the non irrigated area ( Secano Interior ) ranges f rom 30 to 37S (Ovalle, 1990 in DESIRE, 2010). It is also important to highlight the topographical profile of the region, where it is possible to find three main macrozones; the Andes, a longitudinal central valley and a coastal range. Figure 2 2. Chi le topographical p rofile (36 S) (Casanova et al. 2013: 8) From Figure 2 1 2 2 it is possible to understand that the Secano Interior is mainly placed in the longitudinal central valley and the coastal range. These


19 geographical factors are significant bec ause their characteristics and interaction are highly related to the problem of land degradation. Also related to this are the different types of soils, where the three more representative are: granitic, metamorphic and vertisols (Ibid.). As shown by the o fficial Geological Map of Chile, these soils are derived from Carboniferous Permian intrusive rocks and a Quaternary volcanic sequence (SERNAGEOMIN, 2003). Along with this, other characteristics related to the problem of land degradation are, on one hand, the presence of three active generations of dunes in the northern p art of the Secano, (Casanova et al. 2013: 7) and in the other hand, within the most vulnerable area of the coastal range, reddish brown lateritic soils are highly present, this color is hig hly associated with the soil susceptibility to erode or an already eroded state (MOP, 2004). Moving from the soil characteristics to climate and vegetation it is important to point out that between 32 and 38 S the Mediterranean climate is distinguished by rainfall during the winter season (50 1,000 mm yr 1) and dry summer season (Casanova et al. 2013: 15) with at least two months of water deficit (mainly January and February) (MOP, 2004). The region faces six months of drought (from October to March), h aving a very concentrated rainfall during June and July. It also presents very wide temperature range, having an average minimum of 4.8 C in the coldest month (July) and an average of 29 C in the warmest (January). In relation to precipitation, the patt ern of ombroclimatic variation for the South Central region of Chile is characterized by bigger precipitation at the west part of both coastal and Andes range. This is because they exert a barrier effect for the wet fronts that approach the continent from the Pacific Ocean (Ibid.).


20 In relation to vegetation the Mediterranean zone is characterized by sclerophyllous high scrub, specifically Acacia caven and Prosopis chilensis for the most exposed and plane areas. Here it is possible to find the largest expans ion of these species, this is because they position under a very low pluvial regimen, very suitable for the water requi rements (MOP, 2004; Casanova et al. 2013). Also, north facing slopes together with the cactus Trichocereus chiloensis 20). Going from the north Nothofagus forest found around 33S (Camus, 2006), toward south we can find the core of the deciduous forest (between 35 and 36S) is a mesic forest type, dominat ed by the two broadleaved deciduous species Nothofagus alessandri and N. glauca (Ibid.). Is important to highlight that ironically the current representativeness of most of the above described species is drastically low compared to the introduced forest sp ecies as Pinus radiate and Eucalyptus However it is convenient to provide a description of the species that probably proliferate before the introduction of extensive agricultural systems and exotic industrial forest species. Historical Ecology As present ed before, the particular environmental and geographical characteristics of Chile are the consequences of many biophysical factors, where time is probably the most central of all. Most of the geological processes occur in a long period of time slowly shapi ng the landscape, however when humans appear in the equation some ecological changes can occur in a short period of time and very drastically. Chile and especially the Secano Interior can tell the history of both of these cases, however, for this particula r research, the implications of human populations in the form of


21 behavior, resource exploitation, policies, cultural activities and many others are the most interesting. From far pre Columbian times South Central Chile has been inhabited, the earliest evid 200 AD), these groups maintained hunting/gatherer patterns. However the presence of milling equipment (Vzquez, 2000 in Falabella et al. 2007) indicates an incipient horticulture (Planella and Tagle 200 4). This fact makes it possible to scale the amount of time since food production has been conducted in the region, the archaeological evidence shows how long the indigenous groups have managed the landscape. Unfortunately there is not much data about the environmental impact produced by these early groups, however, the below description about the most important and representative indigenous way the patterns of land use and production systems in pre Columbian settings for this region. Mapuches inhabited from the Aconcagua Valley (32 S) to Centra l Chiloe Island (42 S) (Rey et al. 2013: 4258). They ar e considered the most important indigenous group in Chile not only by their population, but also for their important influence in Chilean history. The analysis of Mapuche society is fundamental in order to understand the reciprocal impact between humans an d environment in the Mediterranean region, they occupied this region with an important population for the period, they were engaged in a agricultural system and constantly changed the landscape. However, as it will be explained, there are some specific cha racteristics in the way in which they interact with


22 the environment unlike the Spanish conquistador which had a huge impact on the region that it continues echoing nowadays. At the arriving of the Spanish, the Mapuche had already created a landscape; the y used slash and burn techniques, ending in a partial deforestation. They agricultural conditions are much more suitable for seed crops, unlike the high and coastal re mixture of forest glade simple horticulture and cereal agriculture, where they managed a wide crop rotation and the use of gardens close to the houses (rukas), very fertile terrains due river flooding (Bengoa, 2003; Farga, 1995). Here they grew quinoa ( Chenopodium quinoa ), beans ( Phaseolus vulgaris ) and squash ( Lagenaria sp and Cucurbita sp .) among other vegetables. (Planella and Tagle, 1998 in Sanhueza, 2003). From an environmental point of view, one of the most interesting facts explained by Bengoa (2003) in his book about the pre Columbian Mapuches is that main agricultural activities engaged by this indigenous group was in the plains (slash and burn and cropping) where the forest was managed and controlled, this leaves a more passive role to the hills which they used for herbs and fruits gathering, and later on they used as a strategic place in war time against the conquistador This dichotomic role relation betwee n hills (coastal range) and the valley (Central Depression) can be addressed through extracts from the writings of the first Spanish chroniclers that visited the region and the work of Camus (2006): We are so used to think in America and Chile in particul ar, five hundred years ago as a still virgin and pristine landscape, untouched by the paradisiacal harmony with their ecosystems and part of this splendid


23 territory, not yet exploited and full of resources. This vision of America is of course a myth; it has been created from the Cristobal Colons and other (Camus, 2006: 54) This paragraph summarizes in a great way an important point for this part of the discussion, this misunderstood idea of a pristine pre Columbian America exposes the need for an ecological approach that seeks historical chains of ex planation (Crumley, 1987) away from assumptions. It is crucial to understand the historical ecology of the region in order to analyze and comprehend the current state and the dynamics that unfold in the Secano Interior. Continuing with the main argument ex posed by Camus (2006), the Chilean what we are use to think. Unlike the mainstream historical knowledge, that portrays the South Central region of Chile as mainly forest befo re the Spanish arrival, for Camus the Central Depression was cleared, however there was some presence of scrubs and carob trees, only in both ranges (Coastal and Andes), humid soils and gullies it was possible to find forests ( Chilean myrtle, Cryptocarya a lba, Peumus boldus, Drimys winteri, Prunus sp.) (p. 55). The idea of pre also minimizes the agency o f the indigenous people that occupied the region before the Spanish invasion. On the other hand, this evidence provides essential historical and ecological data about the specific region of the Secano Interior in the Mediterranean region of Chile, showing how the coastal range in this region was densely covered by forest, which completely contradicts the current landscape; one of the most degraded


24 areas in the country due to soil erosion. This demonstrates that since the arrival of the Spanish something be gan to change drastically in the vegetation and the complete ecosystem in the region. The environmental implications of the 300 year Spanish occupation and the displacement of the Mapuche to the South began to be recognized by two scientists in the first part of the nineteen century. In 1837 the Chilean government hired Ignacio Domeyko and Claudio Gay two naturalist, ecologist and geologist with the mission of traveling the country and record its historical, socioeconomic and environmental characteristics. which totally changed the industry The capacity to produce in much more extensive areas led to the manifestation of the conquista as an The impact of the plow was so huge that the region began to produce more food than needed, according to Gay this led to monotony an d very low prices, with a practically zero national and transnational trade. This status remained for decades until a historical event, which later on became the first Chilean economic activation; in 1687 a massive earthquake shook Lima, this led to steril ity in terms of production in the adjacent supplier regions and the production ostensibly decreased. In this scenario an important part of the Peruvian population was suddenly deprived of wheat for primary consumption, and they were forced to turn to Chile (Gay, 1862: 17). This event allowed a trade system that did not exist for Chile, but also implied the productive activation of new provinces, as for the example of Concepcion (36 S) which until then relied on


2 5 s wheat production. In this new cont ext, colonial Chile acquired a new largely intervened, as the coastal range of the Mediterranean region. However, this new scenario did not last forever, and along wi th the productive recovery in Peru the Chilean economy began to stagnate again. The haciendas continued producing the same caudal and the diversification of the market was far away, according to Gay (Ibid.) this situation did not change until another histo rical event; the war for independence. This time the economic lifesaver did not came from a natural event, but from a sociopolitical one, the war against Spain fueled the economy, generating new needs and market movement with a momentum through the peace r estoration. During this period of independency many bourgeoisies criollos traveled to to Chile agricultural machinery in order to boost production, for example differe nt types of modern plows (Ibid.). This was the genesis for a new political economic national approach, a new paradigm in the way people related to the environment, the introduction of these new methodologies and technologies led to the exploitation of most of the forest in South Central Chile. In most cases they were burned to make space for wheat plantations which became the main foundation for the current soil erosion and land degradation issue in the region. any villages and small towns important farmer for the Aconcagua Valley, stated in 1852 that C hile could conquer the


26 Montaldo, 2004). A fraction of this phenomenon was promoted by the saltpeter mining in the North of Chile, however as explained by Arancibia and Yvar (1994) and David (1993) in Mellado (2007) the main historical event that fueled this new revolution was the Californian (1854 56) and Australian (1864 amount of migration and mining settlements required huge amounts o f food, mainly wheat. According to Montaldo (2004) wheat export raised to a million quintals, with a It is very interesting how it is possible to reveal this continued relation between environmental and social events, clearly is a reciprocate relation, with a continuous feedback. However, all this succession of events had a cost; the implications of this continuous process of overexploitation can be seen n owadays in many regions of Chile, especially in the Secano Interior. This particular case explains how a specific historical background of ecological impact can have different outcome for similar regions in other contexts. For example, many areas in Peru s hare biophysical characteristics with the Secano Interior, however due a higher indigenous population and therefore the need to produce in more extensive areas (hills and mountains with high slope), these groups were forced to implement the use of terraces When the Spanish arrived to Peru what adapted to its Spanish wanted to expand the production in Chile, what th ey found were hills covered in forest, after cutting and burning them they ended with a very vulnerable landscape,


27 which become more and more unstable during the exploitation over the years and today is highly eroded. This historical review is fundamental in order to refute a second myth approached in this part of the discussion; the one that attributes the current degraded condition of the region to the agriculture of small farmers and peasant communities that currently inhabit the region. Clearly, there is a much more complex historical, ecological, political and socioeconomic explanation. Current Environmental Issues Due to the geographical characteristics explained before and the global climate change process (higher temperatures, greenhouse effect, sea sonal variation) (Yoma, 2003 in CIREN, 2010) water erosion is the most important form of soil degradation in Chile. With a territorial area of 75.49 M ha, 46% (34.491 M has) are affected by erosion of different degrees (CIREN, 2010) Approximately 27 M ha show from moderated to severe levels of erosion, meaning that these soils have loss between the 40% and 60% of their deepness (Francke et al. 200 0 7% of soils presents a severe erosion, while 27% are highly eroded, 44% moderately degrad ed and 22% are in state currently one of the more significant environmental issues in Chile, especially for the agricultural and forestry sector (Araneda et al. 1999; Bonilla et al. 2010 in CIREN, 2010). In the context of the Mediterranean region of South Central Chile, especially in the Secano Interior, soil degradation is the most important environmental problem. As a result of the environmental characteristics and t he historical background presented


28 and microbial biomass are very low i 1990 in DESIRE, 2010; Ramirez, 2002). This has not only impacted t he important problem for agricultural environmental imbalances like siltation of rivers and ports, and serious problems of 2010). Besides soil degradation, it is important to mention another significant environmental and economic issue; the forest industry. Since the end of the 1970s few m ajor financial groups controlled 80% of pine plantations and 100% of the cellulose and pa per 2013: 20). The arrival of these (in most cases) multinationals has been promoted and subsidized by the State (75% subsidy provided under Government Decree No. 701), arguing this in the need for job sources, economic development and environmental management. Especially for the case of the Secano Interior reforestation has been presented by these companies as the greatest solution for l and degradation. These industries have progressively reforested an important part of the region, however this has gotten out of control where not only the most vulnerable soils are planted but also good quality farm lands have been transformed into forest s. For this they use introduced species, such as pine ( Pinus radiate ) and eucalipto ( Eucalyptus ) producing very dense forests, which have led to another environmental issue: water scarcity. Besides that, it is interesting to observe how the entrance of the se industrial forests changed completely the conformation of tree species that inhabit the region in the recent decades:


29 Figure 2 3 Changes in main f orest t rees in recent d ecades (Casanova et al. 2013: 22) Beyond this, the long term environmental an d socioeconomic impact these two species have over the need of biodiversity can be discussed in another context, however, at this point it is important to recognize how historic events, socioeconomic and political factors have met the regional biophysical characteristics creating a very particular, but also, conflicting situation.


30 CHAPTER 3 SOCIO ECONOMIC BACKGROUND Political Economy History The last discussion related to the introduction and takeover of the forest industry in the region can be used as a perfect link between the environmental and socio economic background for this research, the progressive growth and empowerment of the private sector in the national context, as the forest industry, is largely embedded in some specific historical events. As presented before, there were a series of historical events that impacted the Chilean economy, promoting the growth and expansion of agricultural production, which had important environmental implications. However, in the more contemporary Chilean hist ory there is a particular event that did not only have immediate tangible implications, it also completely transformed the national economic and societal structure; the 1973 coup dtat and the following 17 year dictatorship. As it will be discussed later on, the dictatorship implications echoed heavily in the Chilean rural context, strongly boosting the main socio economic issues found nowadays in the region, as the high poverty and inequality, the disintegration of traditional systems, and depopulation, a mong others. However, before focusing on that, it is fundamental to understand which are some of the theoretical and historical foundations behind this event. Just looking at the photographic and audiovisual records of the coup it is possible to notice tan gible actions; the bombing of the government palace, the president supporters took into military custody, the burning of books, etc. However, for this part of the discussion it is fundamental to understand which are the forces promoting these


31 actions. A co ncept that seems to cluster the arguments of different authors in relation to these ideological, economic and political precursor behind the coup is capital or capital Capit (2010) which becomes an essential theoretical tool to understand the historical, political and economic background behind the coup and the long dictatorship. For Harvey (2010) the origin of capital accumulation is highly r medieval times, however as we can see through the study of Chilean history (and many not exclusive for long time ago process narrated by Harvey concerning Europ e in the middle of the eighteen century applied to what happ ened in Chile in the early 1970 s: A rising bourgeoisie gradually asserted their money power to influence and reconstitute state forms, ultimately assuming a commanding influence over military ins titutions and administrative and legal systems. It then could use legally sanctioned ways to assemble money power through dispossession and destruction of pre capitalist forms of social provisio n (p. 50). The military coup promoted by the most conservative Chilean bourgeoisie had as was the kickoff of a series of abuses and irregularities allowed by the state control: operty resources (like water and education), the use of the power of eminent domain to seize assets, widespread


32 state control is one of the foundations behind capital, and can be portrayed in the Chilean history, and many others. Another fundamental issue related to the characteristics of capital is also explained by Harvey (Ibid.), he points out how the capitalist system is constantly facing the problem of stagnation, fundamentally the slowdown of capital accumulation, one of class power back in the 1960 is problem, as the encouragement of immigration or to seek out labor people like Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and General Augusto Pinochet waiting in the, wings, armed with neoliberal doctrine, prepared to use state power, to crush This contextualizes in some way how the core forces behind the imposition of the c sustain accumulation is important for this particular research to focus on the implications of all this in the rural context, Harvey does this explaining one strategy used to obtain surplus labor: Rural women of the global south were incorporated into the workforce everywhere, from Barbados to Bangladesh, from Ciudad Juarez to Don gguan. The result was an increasing feminization of the proletariat, the sufficient production and the fe minization of poverty worldwide (Ibid.) Chile is a clear example of this phenomenon, and is one o f the main issues aimed in this part of the discussion; how these theoretical and ideological forces


33 sustaining the capitalist system can affect everyday life of particular groups nowadays. How what Marx, Harvey and many others have said about the economic world can be so tangible and representative of what can be seen in the field through ethnography. Kurtz (2004) develops this discussion on the specific Chilean context explaining that the establishment of agrarian capitalism in a sector of the economy wh ere it had not before existed implied the building of a new rural social structure. In comparison to the comparatively well foundation of the market economy (individual and alienable property rights, free labor contracting, and free price setting (Ibid.)) had to be built largely from scratch. Even more relevant for this research, according to Kurtz; this process transformed rur al social and associational life: were replaced by organizational decay, conflicts of interest, social differentiation, and 52). This idea explained by Kurtz is fundamental for the main argument of the present research, because it links historical socioeconomic and politic events and process with the current issue of social dissociation in the Secano Interior. Finally, Kurtz concludes that the most critical impact provoked by neoliberalism in the rural areas of Chile was to: Undermine the associational networks (both formal and informal) that had historically characterized rural community life. This transformed the question o f group political participation and interest aggregation into a one and free riding replaced cooperation as the order of the day even where shared interests survive d (p. 53). and the neoliberal system is a key component that links the past with the present, the global with the local. However beside these specific implications, the economic shift


34 conducted in Chile had macroeconomic implications that boosted the socio political issues explained above, this national implications and their repercussion in the research region will be discussed next. Socio E conomic Implications The transformations conducted and imp osed during these decades (1970s 1980 s) b ecame one of the main foundations for probably the most significant issues faced by Chile nowadays; the enormous socioeconomic inequality. Harvey refers to this into expansion today, then over time we would see a gradual increase in the However, is important to point out that after the transition to democracy this handle all the social and international pressure, in 1988 through a plebiscite the Chilean people choose to end Pinochets dictatorship and called for democratic elections. The composed by all the political parties from the central left and left wing) won the elections. However, the transformations made during the last former period continue echoing in the social reality, during the next four presidential stronger: neoliberal model has been maintained by the center/left governments of the Concertacin coalition, which had c costs, including deepening poverty and inequality, when they were in op position to the Pinochet regime (Winn, 2004: 4). supposed high nat ional develop index has clouded this reality, the macro economic


35 growth figures overshadows any other argument. However these figures are not representative of social inequity or the quality of life of most Chileans, which also affects rural and urban cont exts in different levels. There are two reports that are important to mention in order to have an idea about the degree of inequality in Chile. The first one is a report prepared by the OECD (Organization for Economic Co operation and Development) publishe d on 2011, in this research they use the Gini coefficient to show the amount of income inequality among the associated countries. This coefficient measures the inequality among values of a frequency distribution, especially used for levels of income, a Gin i coefficient of zero expresses perfect equality, a coefficient of 1 express es maximal inequality (FAO, 200 6). The results show that Chile has the highest income inequality (0.503) in the group of 34 countries, much higher than the OECD average (0.31). It also states that 38% of Chileans find it difficult or very difficult to live on their current income, well above the OECD average on 24%. Figure 3 1. Income Inequality and t rust: Chile in the OECD (OECD, 2011)


36 The second report is a research conducted by three economists of the Univer sidad de Chile. Unlike other research about inequality they used data from the Chilean IRS instead of the CASEN survey (Socioeconomic National Characterization), this is a survey conducted by the Chilean government to meas ure the socioeconomic conditions of the Chilean homes. These data are also used by CEPAL (United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean) in their report about inequality (2012), where Chile is presented with one of the highest econ omic inequalities in Latin America. For Lpez (et al. 2013), Chile is not only one of the countries with the highest inequalities in Latin America, it is number one, and not only for the region, but rather the entire world. The real problem of distribution in Chile is in the highest part of the population, and not that much in the thick part (90% or 99% of it) where the distribution tends to be relatively equal. Its really the 1% richer and foremost in the 0,1% and 0,01% richer group where the income is fi xed (p. 28). Figure 3 2. P articipation of the richest 1% of the p opulation in t otal national I ncome ( Lpez et al. 2013) 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Chile United States Canada Germany Japan Spain Sweden % Chile and other countries: Participation of the richest 1% of the population in total income.


37 degree of economic inequality shown above sugge st a series of social issu es, not only the level of trust or quality of life. In order to understand the relation between these data and the above theoretical discussion a historical approach is fundamental. The next graph shows the Gini coefficient (defin ed in Apendix A) during an extended period of time (1957 1996), it is clear how the most important growth in inequality begins in 1975 having a permanent intensification until 1988, point when it begins to drop drastically, following the next decades. This period of inequality intensification is directly related to democracy through the 1988 national plebiscite. Figure 3 3. Gini c oefficient in Chile from 1957 to 1996 (Source: Ruiz Tagle, 1999). The implications of this process can be especially observed in one of the most vulnerable groups in Chile; the peasants and small farmers. As presented before, the imposition of a market driven economic system and the dissoluti on of traditional


38 networks were lethal for the rural economy. Unable to compete in the liberal markets with much bigger volumes and lower prices, the younger members of the families are forced to migrate to the cities looking for better salaries in the ind ustrial context, but this makes it harder for the producers to find labor, and they found it is just too expensive. Sadly, most of the time the market functions as a means of inequality rules, regardless if they have a millionaire income or they function in the context of subsistence agriculture, most of the time the outcome is the progressive endangerment of the small producer economic system. For the case of the Seca no Interior this complex scenario becomes even more complicated when the environmental degradation factors are taken into account, this has created a vicious cycle where the producers have to spend an important part of their resources to produce, and even more, they are forced to overexploit their soil and also through quantitative demographic a nd socioeconomic data. For the Biobo administrative region of Chile, where the fieldwork was conducted and also one of the most representative regions of the Secano Interior (located in 5 administrative regions) this socioeconomic inequality has impacted in many aspects, but probably one of the most important is in the distribution of land. Figure 3 4 shows the average farm size according the type of producer (defined in Apendix A):


39 Figure 3 4. Average f arm s ize by p roducer c ategory (ODEPA, 2002) Clea rly another variable that is strongly coupled with land distribution is poverty, according to the CASEN survey (Socioeconomic National Characterization), one of the main instruments to assess the socioeconomic reality in the country, poverty and extreme po verty is defined by monthly income, specifically the minimum income per capita in order to satisfy the basic needs. For the Biobo region the standards for poverty are approximately $120 USD for urban areas and $80 USD for rural areas, in relation to extre me poverty the standards are aprox. $59 USD for urban and $45 USD for rural areas. For this region, poverty levels are mainly concentrated in economic activities as bulk and retail commerce, manufacture industry and construction with approximately the 50% of the population according the economic activity. However, in the context of agriculture and other rur al activities, as shown in the F ig ure 3 5 : 8 28 288 2062 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 Subsistance Small holder Medium scale producer Large scale producer Average farm size by category of producer (Secano Interior, BioBio Region) Avg. Number of hectares


40 Figure 3 5. Bio bo reg ion: Extreme p overty by e conomic activity (CASEN, 2011). These data related to economic activity is very useful to understand how poverty is distributed in the region, especially, for the present research. The fact that extreme poverty is mainly positioned in rural economic activities allows a more solid argumentation related to the critical condition of the region, which does not only clarify the significance of the present research, but also allows to associate this economic issue to other processes as mi gration. In the next chapter quantitative and ethnographic data will be utilized in order to approach rural urban migration as a socio cultural phenomenon. 32% 21% 19% 15% 13% Extreme Poverty Agriculture, animal husbandry, hunting and forestry Domestic services Manufacture Industry Construction Retail commerce and business


41 CHAPTER 4 SOCIO CULTURAL BACKGROUND Rural Urban Migration The reviewed historical, environmental and socioeconomic background is completely embedded in the current issues afflicting the rural population of the Secano Inteior, most of these issues can be classified in two main groups: environmental degradation and poverty. However, another social fact or that has clearly intervened in process of rural urban migration. However, it is important to point out, that this phenomenon is not exclusive for the Secano Interio r, or even Chile. Without overlooking this as a global process it is important to understand which are the local characteristics, especially those directly related to the complex and multidimensional socio environmental problem taking place in the Secano Interior. It is also imperative to approach this phenomenon from a multi scalar approach, especially considering early attempts to understand these issues. In order to advance in these different scales there are some categories and definitions that must be movement of persons crossing a certain limit so as to establish a new residence Desjardins, 2008: 569). According to this rural urban migration, or (Saracoglu & Roe, 2004). At this par t it is important to point out the distinction between other types of internal migration as rural rural, city city or city rural migration, also called Desjardins, 2008: 572).


42 Urban entities are those with household concentration with more than 2000 inhabitants and ranging between 1001 and 2000 with 50% or more of their population economically active, engaged in secondary or tertiary activities (manufacturing and services), these enti ties are classified in cities and small towns (INE, 1995). or dispersed, whose population does not exceed 1000 inhabitants or between 1001 and 2000 in the case that the econo mically active population engaged in secondary or rural entities as village, hamlet and others. From a national level the process of urbanization can be easily appreci ated, as in Figure 4 1 where it ca n be observed how from the 1960s to the early 2000 s the Chilean urban population has progressively grow from a 68,2% to a 86,6%. Figure 4 1 Ch ile: Process of u rbanization (1960 2002) (INE, 2008). 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 1960 1970 1982 1992 2002 Millions Urban Rural


43 For the national scal e it is noteworthy to point out that the growth rate of the urban population, taking the year 1960 as a base, is higher that the whole population growth. This implies that the rural population has decreased it growth index since 1960, as it can be observed in Table 4 1 : Table 4 1. National population growth i ndex (Base Year: 1960) (INE, 2008). Year Urban population growth index Rural population growth index Total population growth index 1960 100 100 100 1970 133 94 120 1982 185 86 154 1992 222 94 181 2002 260 86 205 According to ECLAC (United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean) from a national point of view, this accelerated urbanization process in Chile is very similar to the rest of Latin America, sustaining it in struc tural a growing concentration of productive activities in the cities and the modernization of the capitalist relations in the country side, which had decisive implicatio ns on the rural However, the spatial distribution of the population during these decades is uneven for the different administrative regions of Chile, this is sustained in the particular economic, socio cultu ral and environmental characteristics of each region, which makes Chile such a diverse country. One of the regions that is characterized by its high levels of urbanization is the Biobo administration, which is also the region where the present research wa s set. According to the 2002 census the high urban expansion along with lack of land, labor and educational opportunities (especially for the younger population)


44 have been addressed as the main reasons for this exodus in the last 40 years (INE, 2008). For this region, in the 1992 census the urban population reached the 77.4% in contrast with the 22.6% for the rural population. Associating these data to the 2002 census it is possible to observe how the urban population has grown a 13,8% while the rural popul ation has decreased a 14,8%. This change can be observed in terms of population in millions in Figure 4 2 : Figure 4 2. Bio bo r egion: Urban and rural p opulation (1992 & 2002) (INE, 2002). In order to introduce a more comprehensive background to this point It is also population is distributed according to the entities described above. For the BioBio region, which has been addressed as a rural region for most part of the Chilean history, the 74.4% of the population living strictly in a city context evidences the significant socio cultural process of migration (Settlement types categorized by population size defined in Appendix A). 0 0,2 0,4 0,6 0,8 1 1,2 1,4 1,6 1,8 Urban population Rural population Millions 1992 2002


45 Figure 4 3. Bio bo r egion: Household d istribution by c ategory (2002) (INE, 2002). Finally, for this part of the discussion it is also useful to approach the migratory process from a deeper scale, for this case the most representative municipality in this research is Yumbel (most of the respond ents reside here), this is a small municipality located in the south part of the Biobo region, right into the Secano Interior, it is very representative for the characteristics of this region. The Yumbel case shows how drastic the urban rural migration pr ocess has been in the Secano Interior, having the growth of the total population but accompanied with a decrease in the rural population, moving from 53.66% of the municipality in 1992 to a 46.70% during 2002. This 10 year interval is very interesting from a demographic approach; it is the inflection point where the municipality becomes mostly urban after having always been rural. 74,4% 5,5% 3,8% 3,4 % 12,9 % City Small Town Village Hamlet Others


46 Table 4 2. Yu mbel municipality: Urban r ura l population v ariation (1992 2002) (INE, 1992 & 2002). 1992 2002 Total period var iation % Population % Population % Urban p opulation 9481 46,34 10763 53,3 + 11,91 Rural p opulation 10979 53,66 9735 46,7 11,33 From Table 4 2 it is important to notice the total period variation percentage, almost inversely proportional between urba n and rural population. From a visual approach it is even easier to notice this significant change: Figure 4 4. Yumbel m unicipality: Urban and rural population (1992 & 2002) (INE, 2002). As shown above, the process of migration and rural depopulation i s a significant issue from different scales, however, before focusing in the cultural background and implications it is crucial to center the attention on how this phenomenon is linked with the environmental and economic issues approached in previous chapt ers. From an economic point of view, this kind of social displacement was viewed 8500 9000 9500 10000 10500 11000 11500 Urban Population Rural Population 1992 Population 2002 Population


47 process by which surplus rural labor was withdrawn from traditional agriculture to provide c 1954; Fei and Ranis 1961 in Todaro, 1980). This dominant theoretical model presented migration as a factor of economic development, however this model sustains development in the reduction of production costs and the stimulation of competition (Requier and investment, thereby encouragin (Oudinet, 2005 in Ibid.). However, from this purely economic approach there are several costs that can be associated with migration, as the direct costs assumed by the migrants, especially those related to d isplacement, settlement, etc. Also the direct costs assumed by the local community and the adopted communities as the additional infrastructure (water, sewage, dwelling, schooling, etc. (Requier Desjardins, 2008). Clearly, at least from an economic approac Even further, by exacerbating the rural urban imbalances migration may promote other social issues, as for example lack of employment, according to Todaro (1980) numerous studies have documented how the increas ing world rates of rural urban 362). so be associated with the environment, as explained by Requier Desjardins (2008) this can be classified in two groups: the cost


48 assumed by the adopting environment and by the abandoned environment, this last one clearly the most important for the present r esearch. The arrival of more people into an environment entails an impact, as the urban expansion, the increase of production and services (transportation), pollution, etc. But also the abandonment of an area implies the environment, worsening of erosion, disintegration of This part of the discussion has attempted to link the migration and depopulation phenomenon from a more quantitative approach to the en vironmental and economical background discussed before, however, it is imperative for the present research to associate the socio communities of the Secano Interior. In order to achieve this, a q ualitative approach is needed to introduce how social cohesion has a protagonist role in the relation between migration and environmental degradation. Cultural Shift and Migration Implications Si nce the middle part of the 1900 s it has become increasingly difficult for authors raise the controversial question: Does peasantry still exist? (Ag uilar in Prat & Martinez, 1996). Although this question seems extreme, the landscape and socio cultural structural changes occurred in the rural areas in the last decades are significant. The changes in productive systems, the introduction of technology, c onnection and massive information access in the context of globalization have completely impacted the traditional socioeconomic and cultural configuration, echoing in the collective imaginary (Gonzlez, 2010). For many authors all these processes, especial ly in Latin America,


49 have constituted the necessity for a new framework in orde r to approach this new context th e shift from something that seems to be really stable to something much more convulsive, as explained by Ruiz & Delgado (2008): It describes the ways of organization and the change in the traditional se, goods, economic activities delocalization, new specialized uses (machinery, residency, tourism, parks and development areas), change in social networks and the diversification of roles (Arias, 2002: 371 377; Linck, 2001: 94 i n Ruiz y Delgado, 2008: 2). One of the most fundamental changes in this new rurality, especially in relation to the goals for the present research, is social relations. These are the foundations of conce ption of the peasant as a subject and a stakeholder imposes a basic presupposition: their traditional practice themselves constitutes a means of social existence and exercise of social capital and cooperation is the main characteristic of being peasant and most importantly; it defines and attributes an identity (Ibid.). It seems, at least for the Secano Interior, that one of the most representative materializations of this link between social capital and peasant identity and traditions are the agricultural production ceremonies. These ceremonies are part of a complex cultural families enga ge in different strategies meet their needs and sustain the production cycle


50 In the trad itional context of the Secano Interior these production ceremonies are summoned when a family group is undergoing a particular process in the production cycle that would be impossible to achieve without the collaboration of a group of people much bigger th an their family unit. During these gatherings different families, neighbors and friends meet for a meal, or even a full day of sharing and eating. The goal of these meals is not only the need to summon the guests, but also to nourish and give energy to tho se who work in planting, harvesting, weeding, mooring or any activity involved in production. The most important instances are the sowing and harvest, which is why, traditional ceremonies such as the "mingaco" (for wheat and other crops) and the "vendimia" (wine harvest) used to be essential, and according to don Cipriano, a 72 year old producer, its disappearance is an important part of the current issues: sometimes some relatives help us to sow, years ago what we use to do was the we sowed so much, we helped each other and that is completely lost because now there are too many machines, time ago we did the and we helped each other sometimes one family was in charge, then it was the turn of a different one and so on. All these traditions are lost, people have forgotten the vineyards There is no people, and the few g about the young. The countryside is going to be deserted in the future, or they are going to sell it to the forest company, no one produces (in Infante, 2011: 101 102). never purely economic role and is not only rooted in a conscious need, it also meets symbolic functions which are highly imbedded in the community trust dynamics. This cooperation system can be understood through observing the interdependence between the families (summoners and attendants). For example, a particular interesting feature of these


51 ceremonies is that it determines a social network that integrates and excludes cooperati on depending on participation and trust. To illustrate this lets imagine t hat the vendimia or mingaco attend, by cooperate with them. Thus, ceremonies, especially productive ceremonies, work reciprocal relating hosts and guests vice versa It is in this scenario where the introduction of machinery plays a significant role, first; not every family can afford the direct costs and all the new expenses associated with this new production model (fuel, specific fertilizers, machine operators, training, etc.). Second; this mac hinery is not suited for every property due the geographic characteristics of hills with high slopes ction system, decreasing the amount of labor required for only some of the families. The and very unstable soils. These two reasons turn machinery into a v ery exclusive produ se machines and their respective operator can perform tasks that would involve an important congregation of workers, so it is no longer necessary to hire or summon them in any productive ceremony. The most common outcome of this new dyna mic is the weakening of the traditional social networks, the community breakdown and the loss of the symbolic functions and trust, which in many cases can promote migration, the abandonment of properties in a vulnerable state and hence lead to land degrada tion. As it will be approached next, social network analysis can be a very useful tool in order to understand these complex relations between traditional cooperation systems,


52 the introduction of machinery, the environmental characteristics of the Secano In terior and other socioeconomic variables.


53 CHAPTER 5 OBJECTIVES, SETTINGS AND METHODS Research Objectives Most of the background data and theories presented early are intrinsically related to the environmental, socioeconomic and cultural current issu es in the Secano Interior. These issues have been addressed in previous research, where a traditional ethnographic method of participant observation, interviews and surveys has been privileged in order to understand some of the dynamics behind these issues However, this is the first time that a social network approach has been attempted, and it seems that it is also the first time research of this nature has been conducted at least for this particular region. It is for this reason that the present researc h aims to implement this approach from a preliminary scope in this particular region and its socioeconomic, environmental and cultural dynamics. As it will be explained later on, social network analysis is just a part of the research methodology; however, just looking at the next objectives it can be understood how the social network approach plays a key role for the present research in order to understand the mentioned dynamics. Overarching O bjective: Identify some of the socio economic, cultural and envi ronmental implications of agricultural machinery introduction in the Secano Interior through the analysis of personal social networks. Specific O bjectives: To understand the relationship between: 1. Machinery ownership and production ceremonies participation. 2. Machinery ownership and personal network characteristics ( centrality, density, etc.)


54 3. Other socio economic variables and network characteristics/cooperation patterns. 4. The above specific objectives are sustained in the follow ing hypotheses: Hypotheses H1: T he ownership of machinery has an impact on social network configurations for the Secano Interior farmers. H2: Farmers without machinery will have denser networks than those with machinery. H3: Farmers without machinery will have more participation on coo perative/reciprocal production ceremonies. H4: Socio economic variables as age, gender, education, among others have an impact on cooperative behavior. Specific Research Settings The research settings have being presented from different approaches and scal es in the above chapters, however it is important to explain these scale boundaries and the specific research setting delimitations. In the first place is important to clarify that Chile is composed of 15 regional administrations (that can be homologated Interior (interior dryland) is an area delimitated by its environmental characteristics (presented in Chapter 2), located within 5 regional administrations, extending from the Valparaiso region (V) to the Biobo reg ion (VIII) (including the Metropolitan region where Santiago is located) as shown in Figure 2 1. The present research was conducted in the further south part of the Secano Interior area in the Biobo administrative region delimitation (Figure 5 1). All the respondents that participated in this research lived in the Biobo region, however they municipalities within this region, which also implies that in most cases they do not kno w each other.


55 Figure 5 1. Secano Interior area: Biobo administrative r egion (Google Maps, 2014). Within the Biobo region, as it will be explained later, half of the respondents lived in the rural area of the Yumbel municipality. This administrative s ubdivision is very representative of the environmental and socioeconomic issues presented before, not only regarding the high levels of poverty and depopulation, but is probably one of the regions where land degradation has reached its highest levels in th e south part of the Secano Interior. Although the biophysical, historical and socioeconomic characteristics that sustain the main issues in this region and the need to research them were developed in previous chapters it is also imperative to point out tha t the Secano has been overlooked in most cases for the scientific community, especially for the social sciences. Most of the research and programs conducted in the region are aimed at assessing and intervention of land degradation and poverty issues, howev er it is very rare to come across a publication or research initiative addressing the social factors and consequences of these issues, even less from a social capital approach.


56 Methods First of all, the sample for this research consisted in 10 householders traditionally in the rural context the main income is attributed to the man, however nowadays women have taken a key role in household income. This is mainly enhanced by agricultural development programs which are in many cases aimed at rural women; sinc e the low prices and highly competitive market for the traditional production of wheat and other legumes has impacted small agriculture economy, the need to diversify the production has led to the production of fresh vegetables as lettuce and tomatoes in g reenhouses, it is in this context that women have empowered themselves in the household economy by taking care of this production. It is for this reason that for the context of the Secano Interior the concept of householder has progressively shifted to bot h genders. For the present research 4 women and 6 men were interviewed, however in many cases the partner was present helping the respondent to answer some of the questions. Most of the respondents for this research were contacted through the help of a loc al NGO (CET: Technology and Education Center) which has worked with producers in the area for almost 30 years. Together we worked in contacting producers that were representative of the Secano Interior reality, this from an environmental and socioeconomic point of view. Along with gender, another even more important independent variable for the present research was machinery ownership, in relation to this variable 5 of the household owned machinery and 5 did not (any motorized farm implement or vehicle, es pecially those designed for tillage: tractor, cultivator, etc.). The respondents were approached in their own houses and were informed of the different researches and approaches that conducted by the in the region. At this point it


57 is important to reinfor ce the idea that the present research is considered as a part of a progressive series of studies conducted in the area which have been aimed to understand the complex socio environmental issues currently affecting this part of the Secano Interior (Infante, 2011; Infante & Infante, 2013). It is for this same reason that there is a previous knowledge and experience by working in this region, which have been obtained mainly through ethnographic and survey approaches. For the present research, although it seems that the social network that, as it will be explained next. Social Networks For Schweizer (1997) the development and use of new tools in anthropology, and in social scie nces in general, is directly related to the demanding increase of complexity in the social world. This is not only the continuous transition from local to economic linkages, demographic processes, social interaction, political control, continuously drawing people into multiple circuits. The overlapping of these systems, the different types of ties and the resulting networks can be investigated with the help of social network analysis (Ibid.). For the present research the way to approach these systems is the ego centered network analysis. As explained by Trotter and Schensul (in Bernard, 1998) this or her by (McCarty et


58 whi centered networks (size, gender and ethnic composition, etc.), and characteristic s of those networks themselves (density, intensity, etc.) can be incorporated into "typical" network profiles, which can then be associated with other psychosocial variables (Trotter et al. 1995 in Bernard, 1998: 712). As it will be presented in the result s, the analysis of these network attributes and characteristics is fundamental to understand the socioeconomic and cultural systems behind the issues presented before, especially in terms of the influence that these attributes and network characteristics h ave on ego. For this face to face computer assisted research the EgoNet software was the tool used to elicit and asses these personal netwo rks. As explained by McCarty (et al. t allows modules: 1. Question asked of the respondent about themselves. 2. Questions used to generate the names of network alters. 3. Questions asked of the respondent abo ut those alters. 4. Questions asked of the respondent about the existence of relations between alters. The first module became another quantitative tool as a survey of 18 questions related to socioeconomic and environmental variables (comp lete questionnaire a ttached in Appendix B ). However it also allowed for the respondents to go deeper and elaborate on the answers in the form of an un structured interview, especially in questions related


59 to income, property characteristics, agricultural knowledge and especia lly on the topic of production ceremonies and machinery ownership. The complete survey was recorded and the transcriptions analyzed in order to support the socioeconomic qualitative data obtained in this first module. For the second module the respondents were asked to give a list of 25 network people that you know and they know you, by sight or by name. Also you have had some contact with the in the past two years a know the real names of really close contacts, only their nicknames, which were used for the purpose of the module. Another recurrent issue was that for some of the respondents it was difficult to come up with 25 names, mainly for the older respondents, although besides taking some additional time all the respondents accomplished this section. In the third module the responden t answered 10 questions about each member of their network, in addition to basic variables of age, gender and closeness (for structural analysis) they were asked about their participation in production ceremonies and agricultural machinery ownership, which are very significant variables for the as independent variables to predict other variables. They may also be used as dependent variables or predicted by typical demograph ic variables or variables more


60 Finally in the last module, which is also the longest, the respondents were asked about the relationship between each individual pair of alters, for this part a similar question you r presence then your response should be Not at all likely. If you know that they talk when you are not around them then your answer should be Very likely. If it is possible, g eometrically as alters are added, in the case of the present research of 25 alters, there were 300 alter pair evaluations ( ). are then built into a representatio only useful for statistical analysis with bigger samples but also it can be arranged into a very revealing visualization with EgoNet and other software. This visualization can be analyzed from a qua litative approach and by itself delivers important information about the network configuration. Participant Observation and Mix Methods As explained before, the decision of approaching the respondents in their own houses allowed and promoted a wider inte raction, in most cases the socioeconomic and network interview became just a part of the visit. Most of the time the respondents took the time to walk and show part of their property, they also explained what they were doing in that period in terms of prod uction, all this data was also recorded as field notes. Along with this, most of the respondents invited me to have once (a Chilean traditional


61 interaction allowed to el aborate into some issues and dynamics related to the topic, also the interaction with other family members that were present provided important information, especially related to cooperation behavior patterns. Another important strategy to point out is tha t after finishing the survey the resulting network visualization was shared with them, where it was not only interesting to observe their reaction, but also some important reflections were made by the respondents. Most part of the fieldwork was done in a m onth and a half, where I visited an average of 2 families each week, which allowed time to print the visualization of previous surveys and deliver them to the respondents. As explained by Bernard (2011) this type of fieldwork can be classified as rapid eth nographic assessment (p. 264), gathering of qualitative and quantitative data was a ccomplished, this combination allowed me to produce more insight than either of the approaches alone (Ibid.). Not only was the research problem suited for this mixed methods proposal (Creswell and Plano, 2011) but also the possibility to utilize technolog y as the network software enable a different approach which had never been conducted for this particular versus qualitative and more how research practices lie somewhere on a continuum research work conducted in the region.


62 CHAPTER 6 RESULTS AND ANALYSIS From a general point of view the results and analysis presented in this research ar e mainly sustained in the relationship between a series of variables, which at the same time are derived from the hypotheses and objectives presented before. In this context the variable related to machinery ownership plays a key role for this research, ho where it is directly and indirectly influenced by independent variables as sex, age, the property characteristics, etc. although, sometimes it also behaves as a variable that impacts other variables as production ceremonies participation. This last is also a key variable because it seems to be directly associated to machinery ownership, for this reason they will be approached from different relations which will be embraced from the data obtained from the respondents through the socioeconomic survey, but also from the personal network data, allowing to analyze alter characteristics. Besides the assessment of the relation between these variables, it is also fundamental for this re search to approach the relation between these key variables and the network characteristics, which will be developed after the analysis of the following basic variables. Age is probably one of the main variables that are required for the analysis of almost any social phenomenon, especially for the present research age plays a key role small sample for this research the average age of the respondent was 54 years, this is in a way very representative of the age segment for the producers of the Secano Interior, even the average age of the respondents who own machinery (45.4) and those


63 n this region. The few people that continue to perform traditional agriculture (mainly wheat and legumes using animal power for tillage) are in most cases located in the oldest segment of the family, where the need for better jobs and income has promoted r ural urban migration. In contrast, those families where a bigger agriculture and machinery is affordable, the middle age segment is in charge of production. As it will be approached later on, variables such as property size, soil quality, among others have a significant effect on the type of agriculture that is carried out. network alters (Figure 6 1), in order to build this pyramid the respondents were classified according the machinery ownership variable (machinery owners and traditional producers) the age of every alter in each of these groups was classified in an age segment, the pyramid displays the amount of alters in age segment for each of the groups.


64 Figure 6 1. Network alte rs age pyramid for machinery owners and traditional producers r espondents. It is interesting to observe how the networks corresponding to machinery owners are mainly composed by middle aged people, having the 50 54 as the most representative age segment. F machinery their networks are a little more diversified in terms of age composition, having two more representative age segments (40 44 and 60 64). As it will be exposed later the prevalence of these segme nts for each of the two groups are very related with pair producers, neighbors and friends that in most cases also own some kind of machinery. 20 10 0 10 20 30 0 4 5 9 10 14 15 19 20 24 25 29 30 34 35 39 40 44 45 49 50 54 55 59 60 64 65 69 70 74 75 79 80 84 85 89 90 94 95 100 100 + Number of Alters Age Range Machinery owners alters Traditional producer alters


65 For the traditional produce rs, these two major groups are composed by their sons and daughters (40 44) and same age segment producers (60 64) mainly neighbors and friends. This is interesting because as it can be seen in the upper part of the pyramid (60 90) the alters in the tradit ional producers group are much more representative of these advanced ages. This tendency can be illustrated through the network visualization of a 74 year old male producer (Figure 6 2) that does not own any machinery, his household (wife, daughter and son (in green)) have been isolated from the rest of his network (red). But more important than this, the node sizes are age related, and as can be seen, most of his network is in an advance age segment (network average age: 62). It is also important to point o ut that as explained during the interview, most of the alters in his network were active participants in the production ceremonies, which have decayed during the last decades: Two years ago a nice trilla was organized, where about 30 people participated, b ut if you ask me about the time when I was 30 or 35 years old, there were 60, 70, 80 people that use to gather, it was magnificent. In this mingacos we invited whole families, they brought all the oxen and yoke they had, then my father would sent workers t o pay back. Figure 6 2. 74 year old producer network showing alter age in relation to node size.


66 As with age, gender is also one of the basic variables for any social research, however for the present case the quantitative analysis of this variable doe s not deliver much divergence in relation to the machinery ownership variable. Although, it is important to point out that for the sample (4 women and 6 men) the sex ratio ( ) from the networks alters shows a 1.94 prevalence of men, this means that for each woman in all the networks there is almost two men. Although this does not represent the region sex ratio (97.2 men per 100 women), which actually has a fe male predominance, this could be attributed to the larger number of male respondents. However in most cases the respondents privileged to name the male householder of each of their alter families, which is also the main contact in order to ask for help, th is can be specially appreciated for the male respondents, yet it is a tendency also presented by some female respondents as shown in the next network (Figure 6 3). For this machinery owner producer the male alters are colored blue and the female alters in red, as in the previous network, age has been represented in the node size: Figure 6 3. 50 year old female producer network showing gender and age distribution.


67 However it is also important to point out the presence of purely female sub networks within some of the respondents networks, this has been promoted through the creation of programs for women development as greenhouse vegetables production and seeds interchange networks facilitated by government institutions as the PRODESAL (Program of Local Dev elopment) and some local NGOs. Putting these two essential variables behind it is time to focus on two variables that are particularly essential for the analysis in the present research, as explained between independent and dependent variables, not only in relation to other variables as age, gender, economic activity, etc. but in relation to each other, these are machinery ownership and participation in productive ceremonies (sowing, harvest, etc.) M achinery ownership is a very interesting variable because it seems to influence in a huge spectrum of factors for families engaged in agriculture as main activity. Much of the impact in the socioeconomic and cultural reality of the region has been approach ed in previous chapters, however the personal network approach allows to understand diverse aspects behind this variable, especially through the alters data for each group. As it has been explained before, machinery ownership is not only a key variable for its implications on the research problem but also because this variable constitutes the main division in the sample having 5 machinery owners and 5 traditional producers as respondents in two main groups. In terms of the total alters (for both groups) the percentage of machinery ownership is actually very low with a 17.6% of the alters, this means that according the respondents almost the 83% of their contacts does not own any agricultural machinery


68 at all. However when the data are analyzed separating the two groups alters (machinery owners and traditional producers) some interesting patterns can be appreciated. In ) the alters in the machinery owners group shows a 2.48 ratio, this means that for each any. For the alters in the traditional producers group the ownership ratio is 12.9. This shows a small correlation (probably for a larger sample the correlation is likely to grow also) for machinery ownership for t Figure 6 4 : Figure 6 4. Number of alters that own machinery according to respondents in groups. Although from a general point of view the presence of machinery is low it is possible to observe a l ittle pattern which can be better understood through observing a network example visualizing this variable. The following network (Figure 6 5) belongs to a 32 year old male producer, here the nodes have been colored red for the alters in his network that o show their participation behavior for production ceremonies (Circle=No / Square=Yes / Triangle=Maybe). 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 No Maybe Yes No Maybe Yes No Machinery Machinery Number of Alters Machinery Ownership


69 Figure 6 5. Network showing alter machinery ownership and production ceremoni es participation. As it can be seen the network shows an important machinery ownership ratio, especially taking into account that the respondents were asked to name any type of contacts, not only people engaged in agriculture, where especially for machiner y owners many people that lived outside the region and in urban settings was named as alters. However the general low number of machinery owners for both groups can also be explained through the economic activity, as shown next (Figure 6 6) there is a high presence of professionals in the machinery owners group, which means they mainly engaged in non agricultural activities, the low presence of machinery for the other group is much related to the high costs, required technical knowledge and their properties biophysical characteristics (high slopes, unstable soils, etc.):


70 Figure 6 6. Numbers of alters and main economic activity for both groups. The other variable that is incorporated in the previous network visualization (Figure 6 5) is production ceremon ies participation, as explained before this variable includes any cooperative work related to agriculture. For this particular network it is possible to observe a low participation compared with the big picture and especially if compared with the levels of participation for the traditional agricultural networks. In relation to the respondents in this research 8 out of 10 said that they have participated at least one time in at least one of these production ceremonies, classified in minga or mingaco (sowing, planting, harvest), trilla (wheat harvest) and vendimia (grape harvest and wine processing). All the respondents engaged in traditional agriculture claim to actively participate in these instances, while for those machinery owners that answer to have part icipated only one stated to do this regularly. In relation to all the network alters, according to the respondents 74% of their contacts have participated or are actively participating in this kind of meetings, linking this data with the above it can be ge neralized that for the small sample and their networks most people 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 Number of Alters Main Economic Activity Traditional Agriculture Machinery Owners


71 machinery (without taking into account if the alters are engaged in agriculture as main economic act ivity). However, dividing the sample into the two groups it is possible to see a similar correlation as shown in the machinery ownership, although in this case is in the no machinery group (or traditional producers) where it is possible to observe a higher number of alters that participate in these gatherings, as shown in Figure 6 7 : Figure 6 7. Number of alters that participate in production ceremonies according to respondents in groups (traditional producers and machinery owners). For this variable th e analysis of the network visualization is particularly useful and descriptive, the next network belongs to a 67 year old female traditional producer, similarly to previous network the nodes have been colored red for the alters in his network that particip ate in any kind of production ceremonies and blue for those who agricultural machinery (Circle=No / Square=Yes). 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 Yes Maybe No Yes Maybe No No Machinery Machinery Number of Alters Participation


72 Figure 6 8. Network showing alter participation machinery ownership. For this network is particularly interesting to observe in the first hand the important amount of alters that participate in these ceremonies, but also how those that ly for the only alter that does own machinery, even more interesting, this particular alter also shows less ties with the rest of the network compared to the others. This network visualization is very representative for traditional producers, from a genera l point of view everybody knows quite well every member of their community, and asked about that tie strength. This is partly explained in the next interview extract: W e are not used to see each other every day, but everybody knows each other. When there is something that has to be done, everybody is there to help. Even more, most of these people participate in the neighborhood council so we see each other all the time a nd we participate in every activity, every week. Sometimes there may be some internal issues, but if you need something they are always going to be there for you, because is like family


73 Another way to analyze this characteristic is to directly look into the distribution of there is a small differences between the average tie strength between the groups; 3.8 for machinery owners networks and 4.6 for traditional producers. However, to look at the distribution can make a little clearer how in Figure 6 9. Distribution of tie strength among machinery owners and traditional The correlation between high participation in cooperative work and strong ties seem s to constitute the basis behind traditional agriculture production in the Secano Interior, this association is also strongly linked with concept of social capital, defined by ship in chapters the social ties supporting social capital are not only utilitarian, there is a 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 1 2 3 4 5 Number of Alters Level of Tie Strenght No Machinery Machinery


74 complex sense of belonging in the community members, this can be perceived through the narratives which illustrate how the communities are historically constructed through cooperation and reciprocity, especially in the context of production ceremonies: One day I said to myself all this time that I have been working the land all my neighbors have helped me, not only for mutual cooperation but just for goodwill, harvesting the wheat, and everything that implies So I gathered all my neighbors and killed a cow for them to eat. Many of them came, we set a bunch of tables and a neigh bor asked me if I was wealthy enough to kill the livestock and share it, but for me that was nothing compare to their help and all that we have shared, so we all enjoyed that afternoon. The above narration explains how social capital transcends in many way s any utilitarian or economic capital, especially in the subsistence agriculture context as narrated by this elder woman. However it is important to avoid the idea of this type of social capital as exclusive for traditional agriculture, or as a part of a d ichotomist relation of mechanized vs. traditional agriculture / economic vs social capital, in many cases these types of capital are interchangeable. One of the main differences lies in the ure, highly embedded in the group identity. The critical aspect of social capital in this type of socioeconomic and cultural configuration and the high costs and implications of it failures go beyond the mechanized agriculture parameters. In other words, i n settings of higher vulnerability higher levels of social capital are required, and the traditional producers of the Secano Interior are a proof of that. Another way to look into this phenomenon is through the analysis of the personal network structural v ariables, although as other types of metric this kind of analysis is more revealing with a bigger sample, yet for this particular preliminary research it is interesting to propose it as a useful analysis approach.


75 Structural metrics deliver important info rmation of networks especially when they are approached as a whole (this does not means whole networks), describing and summarizing various aspects of it (Kadushin, 2012). This is particularly useful when grouping networks in relation to a particular varia ble, as in this case; machinery ownership. Among these structural metrics probably the most used for network analysis are those related to centrality (Marsden, 1990; Costenbader and Valente, 2003), here the emphasis is set on three main measures; the firs t one is degree centrality, this is the number of alters that any given alter is directly connected to. The second one is closeness centrality, this is the inverse of the distance from that alter to all other alters. Finally betweenness centrality is equal to the number of shortest paths (or geodesics) from all vertices to all other that pass through that node. Table 6 1 aims to associate these structural measures with the machinery ownership variable for each of the respondents networks, in order to do th is the highest reading for each structural measure (supplied by EgoNet) and for each network has been grouped according the machinery ownership variable, after that an average has been made for each of this measures. Besides centrality other structural mea sures have been consider for Table 6 1 as number of components (connected graphs within a network), isolates (alters who are not tied to anybody else) and the average of cliques (maximally complete subgraphs):


76 Table 6 1. Relationship betwe en n etwork str uctural m easures and m achinery o wnership v ariable. Network Structural Metric No Machinery Machinery Average Degree Centrality 24 22,6 Average Closeness Centrality 100 94,6 Average Betweeness Centrality 3,5 27,5 Components 1 1 Isolates 0 0 Average Cli ques 6,2 20,2 From a general look only some small differences can be observed for the average degree centrality and closeness centrality, probably with a bigger sample a higher contrast could be obtained. However, these small differences represent someth ing; although the average degree centrality is high for both groups (out of 25 alters) the average shows that traditional producers have denser networks than machinery owners. This is also supported by a higher closeness centrality; this means that the mos t central node is very close to every other node. Here it is also possible to recognize a little variation between both groups, although both have high measures, traditional producers networks have a higher closeness centrality, if this concerned informati on spread for example, it could be said that in this type of network this process would be faster. If we think of betweeness centrality as the quantification of the number of times a node acts as a bridge along the shortest path between two other nodes it is possible to number, this could be attributed to the high connectivity in these networks, where there are many paths that can work as bridge between two nodes, for less dense n etworks some paths are going to be used with higher frequency.


77 Finally in relation to the last three structural measures it is interesting to observe components is 1, thi s means that every network is connected in some way without living any disconnected node or isolate. In this case probably with a higher number of alters for each network the number of isolates could growth, however from a general point of view this illust rates that the networks for these different types of producers share the characteristic of high connectivity. Lastly, the average number of cliques is also related to the above measures and supports the idea of denser networks for traditional producers, w here it is harder to find subgroups rather than the network as a whole, especially when in the majority of the cases almost everybody knows everybody with also a high tie strength. The last analysis approach is presented more as a proposal methodology for future research, this is because cluster analysis being a family of statistical procedure is much more linked and designed for bigger samples and larger amounts of data. However, the use of different variables for the respondents allows in some way to grou p them via a Biplot chart (Gabriel, 1971). The clustering of variables can facilitate the respondent profile characterization, this can be observed through the variable dispersion in the plane. Which as shown next (Figure 6 10) two main groups with correla ted characteristics are formed:


78 Figure 6 10. Biplot chart showing the clustering of variables in relation to respondent profile. The first group in the left shows a predominance of respondents under 50 years, with farming training from outside the famil y group, living on better soils and are able to hire labor help, but most importantly this group is strongly associated with the machinery ownership variable. The second group, although with more dispersed variables shows older people, with family farming knowledge, living on poor soils and having trouble finding labor to hire, this group is strongly associated with traditional agriculture. Finally another proposed cluster analysis is a non hierarchical k means procedure or principal component analysis (PCA ) (Ding & He, 2004). In this case the variables related to the alters are employed in order to understand the levels of relationship between each other. As shown in the next graph (Figure 6 11) every blue disperse dot represents an alter and every line com ing from the origin represents a variable, the variables which lines have a larger projection (to the right or to the left from


79 the CP1 axis) are the variables with higher incidence. Along with that, variables that appear closer between each other are much more related that those facing them which in many cases represent the opposite. Figure 6 11. K This visualization shows how in the lower right part of the chart; advance age, strong ties and long time knowing the alter are closely related with participation in production ceremonies, in the other hand these variables contrast with machinery (how far is t he alter from the ego geographically speaking) is inversely related to how often they happen to see each other. As the previous analysis this type of visualization is very useful to understand variable relation and to characterize alters.


80 CHAPTER 7 DISC USSION The Secano Interior of South Central Chile is clearly a region where different issues intersect, the relationship between socioeconomic, cultural, political and environmental problems evidently implies a high complexity. This complexity requires a d iversity of approaches and methods in order to attempt any level of understanding, however the urgency of the more environmental and economic issues has promoted a rapid assessment and intervention in the biophysical spectrum, many times underestimating an y socio cultural background and implications. conducted in these regions. A concrete example of this is the important amount of through the introduction of new technology and technical driven production methods. Some of the main disregarded issues in this context are the socio cultural implications behind the introduction of agricultural machinery, especially in terms of social configuration and traditional cooperation networks. As explained in previous chapters some of the testimonies that narrate and elucidate th is phenomenon have been compiled in previous studies, however the understanding of such complex relations is still far from being achieved. That is why it is essential to continue proposing o are innovative in ways to answers practical questions. The present research aimed in this direction, proposing an approach and methodology that are innovative for the context; the use of a social network analysis


81 approach sought to open a new window to integrate previous knowledge but also to extend path for future research, the mixed method proposal also responds to this. Looking at these results in the previous chapter it is possible to notice that most of them are presented as relations between variab les explaining some social characteristics of the different types of producers in the Secano Interior. This is a similar case for the transcriptions presented as a way to illustrate some of the traditional dynamics behind production ceremonies and social c apital. However, these results have not been appropriately associated with the issues developed in the first chapters. Just looking at the social networks presented before is easy to think that these traditional cooperation systems are successfully conduct ed and reproduced nowadays, the observation in the differences in network density between the two types of producers it may seem logic in the context where two kinds of agriculture are This is why a mixed method approach is very useful for this context, the participatory observation, the interviews and the oral history complements the data that each respondent achieved to share about themselves and 25 of their contacts. The presence of denser networks and stronger ties are not dir ectly translated in less vulnerability, these are the structure of a traditional system that has been threatened for decades and the consequences are in plain sight, for that same reason the programs are aimed to these consequences and not in the structura l problem. As explained before the main variable that in some way guided the present research was machinery ownership and in contrast with the participation in production ceremonies, the analysis of these two variables is essential to understand the main


82 s ocio cultural dynamics behind the production system, this is because they are located in the margin behaving sometimes as causes and sometimes as effects. When these variables are associated with other basic variables such as age, sex, among others, some interesting relations and visualizations can be obtained, reinforcing the idea of vulnerability not only for subsistence agriculture itself in the region, but especially for traditional agriculture. It is important to point out that for this sample, and in general for the region, machinery owners are not necessarily engaged in industrial agriculture, even more only one of the respondents can be classified as a major producer. Returning to the vulnerability issue, age is one of the most representative variab les because it exposes the high presence of advanced age alters for traditional producers networks in contrast of machinery owners, this can be interpreted not only as a lack of young labor but also that the networks becomes progressively more vulnerable i n time, while more of the alters are unable to work and there is no generational replacement due the high rural urban migration. As explained before, since approximately a couple of decades ago there has been a significant shift related to economic partic ipation in terms of gender, women has been promoted as a key stakeholder for the rural context, this also responds to the loss of feasibility for traditional agriculture led by men. However, as it can be seen through the data, male alters still predominate in the networks, especially for traditional producers respondents. In relation to machinery ownership for the alters it is interesting how this variable is low for both groups, however as explained before this low number is also related to


83 the location o f the alters (urban/rural) and their economic activity. Beyond that, this ownership rates are an accurate characterization of agricultural production in the Secano Interior, where most of the production remaining corresponds to traditional subsistence agri culture, some few bigger producers and the rest has been consumed by the forest industry, also boosting migration and therefore promoting land degradation for the abandoned properties. Another interesting point is related to the high rate of participation in cooperative production ceremonies, from the testimonies and the observation a low participation could be foretell, especially for machinery owners alters. Most of the respondents explained how decades ago the level of participation was overwhelming comp ared with nowadays. However a factor that could be decisive for this point is that many respondents answer that they and their alters have participated but are not active participants, which is also related to the decay of these type of ceremonies during t ime. Tie strength is also an interesting variable to observe from the quantitative point of view and to contrast it with the respondents perception, this is because most traditional producers in some way anticipated a network were most of the alters know e ach other, and for a long time. Many respondents surprised themselves realizing for how long they knew some of their alters, even when some female respondents were asked about how long do you know this person or how close is he/she, they would simply answe strength is the alter location, one might assume that there is a direct relation between these variables, having weaker ties for alters that live far away, however the presence of stro ng ties for people living in the city shows how migration does not necessarily


84 affect the closeness between the ego and the alters. It is important to add that the exercise of showing them the resulting network was very fruitful from a qualitative point of general most of the respondents were very interested in the outcome of the exerci se especially because they had never visualized their networks. In relation to the structural metrics, although the small sample, the results show some interesting distinctions for the type of producers in relation to the machinery ownership variable. The se measures reinforce the qualitative data that attributes higher density and closeness within the network for traditional producers. However it is important to point out that besides the average betweeness centrality and the number of cliques there is not large variation between the groups, this can be observed from a more general approach looking at the number of components and isolates, which show that for both groups the networks consist in one main component. This can be attributed to the number of alt ers requested but also explains that, from a general point of view, producers in this region maintain a close social network. Finally the cluster analysis proposal allows to introduce a preliminarily statistical platform, especially for future studies, one of the most interesting features in this type of methods (as shown in the results) is the possibility to promote a visual analysis of the data, which is also very similar to the possibilities available in social networks, where data is not only explored q uantitatively but also it can be visualized. This is an important matter concerning the future directions presented next.


85 CHAPTER 8 LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS From a general overview the present research was a great experience, not only for the po ssibility of going back to Chile and the Secano Interior but also for what implies the use of new methodological and theoretical approaches in a known context. As mentioned before the use of a social network analysis approach for this particular region is minimal if not none at all, for this reason the present research was also an important opportunity to introduce a new strategy. However, the above also implies some limitations, for example the use of a laptop computer is sometimes not well suited for som e rural scenarios, this is because it could make some people feel a little frightened or uncomfortable (especially the elderly), it creates a kind of barrier between the researcher and the respondent sometimes blocking a fluid interaction. Although from an other point of view the possibility given by the computer to almost instantly show the respondent the resulting network is a great advantage not only for comments and questions that may come out related to the research, but also for the ability of returnin g something. Another limitation for this particular context is time, especially in relation to the social network survey, as explained before the number of ties grows geometrically as alters are added and to answer each of these ties takes a lot of time. T his can be complicated especially for farmers, because during the day, no matter if week day or weekend they are working in something, so the survey interrupts this dynamic, the opposite of what happens with participant observation. Sometimes the responden ts use point, it is important to find a balance between the need for a representative number of


86 cause of tiredness or hurry. In relation to the above it is important to be careful regarding the research design when a mix method approach is proposed, probably for a preliminary research there are not many implications, but in the context of a larger st udy it is fundamental to be aware of the amount of time that is required and how much is available, otherwise the high expectations can end in low results. Also concerning the last points the sample size can be cataloged as one of the main limitations for this research; although it was designed as a preliminary research a bigger sample would be essential for any future enquiries demanding statistical power. Of course this also implies the training and use of statistical tools in order to manage large amoun ts of data. The above enables me to introduce some of the future expectations that can be extrapolated from the present and previous studies. From the first chapters this research was introduced as a platform, not only as a preliminary approach, but also a s a part of a much bigger inquiry to understand the interaction between multiple issues in the rural context of Chile, the diverse nature of these issues has required the incorporation of a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches and it will d emand the incorporation of others, especially related to biophysical variables. As explained in the research problem during the first chapters, the existing issues in the Secano Interior transcend the socio cultural and economic spectrum, there is a contin uous feedback between these issues and the more biophysical environmental problems, especially in this case; land degradation. This is why for future research a


87 linkage between social and environmental variables is intended, the social network analysis app roach and the wide range of possibilities in network and statistical data visualization seems to have a significant potential for being associated with a GIS (Geographic information system) approach. The mixture of these strategies might become a useful me thodological approach to analyze the socio environmental problem of land degradation in the Secano Interior, not only from a quantitative point of view but also from the visual representation of the problem. In conclusion the present research was fundament al in order to approach previously observed issues but from a different point of view, the opportunity of looking at a dynamic and complex relation of socio cultural, economic, political and environmental phenomena from a different perspective is rewarding not only for a better understanding but also to open the spectrum in terms of possibilities for research.


88 APPENDIX A KEY CON CE PTS GLOSSARY Capital: According to Harvey (2010) is a flow or circuit through which money and commodities m ove in order to produce value. But also can be understood in terms of social relation: Capital is not just wealth but wealth in a specific historically developed form: wealth that grows through the process of circulation (Marx, 1867). Dryland: They are zones where precipitation is counterbalanced by evaporation from surfaces and transpiration by plants ( evapotranspiration ). These are tropical and temperate areas with an aridity index of less than 0.65 ( UNEP in Hassan et al., 2005). Economic Inequality: is an indicator of how mate rial resources are distributed across so ciety (mainly income) (OCDE, 2011). Gini Coefficient (Index): is a measure of statistical dispersion intended to represen t the income distribution of a nation's residents. It was developed by the Italian statistician and sociologist Corrado Gini and published in his 1912 paper "Variability and Mutability" (Variabilit e mutabilit) (Ceriano & Verme, 2012). Household : Households are task oriented residential units within which economic production, consumption, inheritance, childrearing, and shelter are organized and accomplished. In the vast majority of human societies, a household consists of a family or part of a family or their core members, even though some household members may not be relatives of the family aro und which it is built.(Haviland et al. 2011: 473) Land Degradation: is defined as a long term loss of ecosystem function and servi ce, caused by disturbance from which the system cannot recover unaided a major global concern for a long time (UNEP, 2007).


89 Produce size category: Subsistence: less than 120 ha rain fed, less than 3 irrigated ha without technological o productive means to be consider small business. Small holder: less than 120 ha rain fed, less than 3 irrigated ha and with technological and productive means. Medium scale: less than 300 rain fed and less than 10 irrigated ha. Large scale: more than 500 rain fed and 40 irriga ted ha (ODEPA, 2000). Production Ceremonies: Any cooperative activity between two or more households in the context of agricultural production. These meetings are usually sustained in some kind of instant retribution (meal, gifts, etc.) and a long term rec iprocal relationship between the participants. The main goal for these ceremonies is the need to carry out a specific production process (sowing, harvesting or threshing) mainly in traditional agricultural context (without machinery). Settlement types: Cit y: more than 5000 inhabitants. Small Town: between 2000 and 5000. Village: between 300 and 2000 (INE, 1995). Soil Erosion: the removal of inorganic soil grains (Kirkby & Morgan 1980: in Blaikie, 1985: 10). In the widest possible terms, it includes any degr adation of the soil which red uces its ability to grow crops (Hudson, 1981 in Ibid.) Types of Agriculture: Intensive: System of cultivation using large amounts of labour and capital relative to land area (Encyclopedia Britannica). Extensive: System of crop cultivation using small amounts of labour and capital in relation to area and land being farmed (Ibid). Traditional: For this particular research and its settings traditional agriculture is defined as a system of cultivation sustained in human labour and animal power, mainly


90 focused on wheat and legumes production. In most cases this implies non irrigated cultivation and the existence of production ceremonies in order to achieve the most labour demanding production processes.


91 APPENDIX B QUESTIONNAIRE 1. Name? 2. Sex? 3. How old are you? 4. Marital status? 5. How many children do you have? 6. How many people live in your house? 7. Are you native of this locality? 8. What is your main economic income? 9. What is your relation to the property? 10. Wher e your agricultural knowledge does comes from? 11. Do you participate in production ceremonies (minga, trilla, etc.)? 12. Approx. how many people meet in these ceremonies? 13. How often do you meet? 14. Do you participate in any development program (government, ONG)? 15. Do y ou own any agricultural machinery? 16. Who helps you in the agricultural labor? 17. How do you manage your soil? 18. In your opinion, how is the soil quality around this area? 19. Please list 25 people you know and live around the area and that you could contact them if y ou had to. 20. What is the sex of each of these people? 21. About how old is each of these people? 22. On a scale of 1 to 5, how close is each of these people to you? 23. How did you meet each of these people? 24. How many years have you known each of these people? 25. How often do you communicate with each of these people? 26. Do these people participate in any production ceremonies? 27. What is the main economic activity of each of these people? 28. Do you know if these people own agricultural machinery? 29. Which category best describes where these people live? 30. In your opinion, do these people know each other (each case)? (yes, no, maybe)


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97 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Felipe obtained his bachelor and professional degree in anthropology at the Universidad de Concepcion in Chile during 2011. His undergraduate thesis focused on the socio cultural factors related to land degradation in the Secano Interior. This research was conducted through his internship in the National Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA) in the context of the DESIRE project ( Desertifica tion mitigation and remediation of land ) funded by the European Union and conducted in different part of the world, having INIA as one of the collaborators in charge of the Chilean study site. During 2012 he obtained a Fulbright scholarship to prosecute g raduate studies in the United States, after this in 2013 he was admitted in the anthropology graduate program at the University of Florida specifically in the subfield of cultural anthropology,