Struggles for territory, struggles for place: development-forced displacement and resettlement of the Mapuche-Pehuenche, Chile

Struggles for territory, struggles for place: development-forced displacement and resettlement of the Mapuche-Pehuenche, Chile


British Academy

£7,012

Alejandro Herrera Aguayo, Universidad de la Frontera, Temuco, Chile

Dr. Mateja Celestina


15 million people annually are believed to lose their assets and place due to ‘development’ projects. Development-forced displacement and resettlement (DFDR) has been criticised for the negative socio-economic effects it has on People. However, literature on DFDR has paid insufficient attention to the political aspect of the DFDR (Koenig 2006) and to people’s resistance (Oliver-Smith 2010). Yet these processes are likely to influence the resettled communities’ attachment to the new place. Since further hydroelectric projects and expansion of forestry on the Mapuche ancestral territory are envisioned (Holmes 2014), research is timely and offers strong potential to inform future interventions.

Focusing closely on an indigenous community in Chile, the Mapuche-Pehuenche, who were resettled as a result of a dam construction, this research analyses their attempts to make and remake place, taking in consideration the historical context of land dispossession and the current confrontations between the Mapuche and the state.

Development-Forced Displacement and Resettlement (DFDR), termed as such due to its involuntary nature (Oliver-Smith 2009), is one of the most contested issues in development today. Because projects carried out in the name of development are expected to increase, there is a need to better understand the processes which cause impoverishment and other displacement-related hazards (Cernea 1997). Empirically informed insight into the complexity of the processes needs to be advanced in addition to comprehensive frameworks to facilitate inclusive development (Neef and Singer 2015). This project addresses this need.