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Asunto:[CeHuNews] 12/09 - Trends of Geographic Research in Argentina
Fecha:Lunes, 14 de Diciembre, 2009  12:02:06 (-0300)
Autor:CeHu News <news>

CeHuNews 12/09

Trends of Geographic Research in Argentina

Ana Maria Liberali

Professor of Geography, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina

And President, Alexander von Humboldt Research Institute


Geographic research in Argentina has been influenced by the context and the different macroeconomic policies implemented at the national level.

At the current time in our country, new occurances of regional, economic, social and environmental import are present, a fact that has generated a lot of new research programs and projects, which in the majority of cases, are undertaken at centres of investigation in state institutions.

The Argentine territory has been affected in the last fifteen years by the deepening of the process of transnationalization of the economy, which has brought changes in the relations of production in our society. The insertion of Argentina in the new international division of labor, combined with a new internal division of labor, raises the following issues:

- Privatization of the principal means of production into the hands of big foreign companies;

- Brazil as the principal destination of exports;

- Primarization of the economy;

- Agrarian homogeneisation;

- Overexploitation of natural resources with the consistent deterioration of the environment;

- Increase in unemployment and social fragmentation;

- Migration.

After a long period in which Regional Geography had been absent in most research and educational programs, recently we have held a major conference, or summit, focused as much on regional national economies as on the geographical consequences of  ntegration with other countries of the region, such as the case of MERCOSUR.

In addition, the privatization of major companies has had a strong impact on nature and on society. Because of this context, geographers have to a great extent increased their commitment to addressing two related questions concerning: 1) the destruction of the ecosystems due to the optimization of corporate earnings, and 2) the problem of increasing unemployment. For this reason, there have been an exponentially increasing number of environmental and social impact studies.

It is necessary to add and clarify that Environmental Geography also forms a part of a mode of research that exceeds beyond the borders of my country. Also, since there is not much Human Geography, it seems that studies in Social Geography have been the area experiencing major growth in recent times, at least in relative terms.

Changes in the rural land tenure system and in agricultural systems of soybean monoculture mean that some colleagues are treating diverse aspects of Agrarian Geography in their research. These processes have contributed both to the exodus of the scant population that remain in the Argentine countryside, as well as to a great urban fragmentation, with neighborhoods of mixed luxury and urban poverty previously unknown. There is also then a demonstrated increase in urban studies both for big cities and for intermediate ones, where Argentina is being spoken about in terms of a “Latinoamericanization” of a formerly European space. Research in Urban Geography is related to these facts, and together with subsidies for programs in Local Development, many geographers have been stimulated to adapt urban problematics to this field.

Another phenomenon that we have been experiencing in Argentina in recent years is the deepening complexity of migratory processes and patterns. We have on the one hand an exodus of inhabitants particularly from professional and middle classes, to the USA and Europe. We have a strong process of urbanization and a net inmigratory positive balance, not only from traditional sources of bordering countries but also from new origins like Eastern Europe and Asia. This has generated new investigations in the area of Social Geography.

In addition, Economic Geography has been one of the means to understand new commercial relations and how changes in the productive system have modified the processes of property accession in the whole country. After devaluation, tourism has increased rapidly, and this speciality is set to become an important subject for upcoming research trends.

All of these territorial changes produced in a short space of time have political manifestations, given that they have been fulfilled through those who forcefully influence the annihilation of geographical space. For this reason, the works of Political Geography has begun to prosper lately, leaving aside the more traditional kind of Geopolitics, in order to study macroeconomic politicians and the new insertion of Argentina in the international context.



CENTRO DE ESTUDIOS ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT. Censo Noticias del CeHu. Buenos Aires. 2006.

LIBERALI, Ana María: “From the geography of limits to the geography of integration,” in Geografía y Gestión Territorial, No. 5, Universidad de Guadalajara, México, pp. 47-51. 2004.

LIBERALI, Ana María: “La Atomización de la Geografía,” in Revista Mundo Docente. Marzo 2006


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