Revista physis 20 indd

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Populations exposed to agrotoxics: citizens’ self-

organization in the defense of life and health

Córdoba City, Argentina

This paper presents a preview of our doctoral research work, 

based in the political action of the groups selfdenominated 

“Madres de Barrio Ituzaingó Anexo” in the city of Córdoba, 

Argentina. Since late 2001, the members of this group started 

fighting for life, health and environment, in the context of an 

environmental problem that produces over 200 illnesses and 

deaths in a population of 5,000 habitants in the neigborghood, 

mainly caused by fumigations with agrotoxics in the soybean 

fields adjacent to the houses. The modes of self-organization 

displayed by “las Madres” against the infringement of their 

rights plus the inefficiency and also abandonment of the State 

in the protection of the ones affected by the pollution, made 

this citizenship practice an example to think about the struggle 

for rights. This paper is divided into three sections. First, we 

present the methodological and conceptual elections that 

frame our reflections: the contributions of pragmatism (Dewey 

and Joas), the narrative turn (Ricoeur) and contemporary 

discussions in biopolitics (Agamben, Hardt y Negri, Virno). 

Second, we join the fight of the Madres de Barrio Ituzaingó 

Anexo and their contexts. Third, we describe some scenes of 

the fight of the Madres against the fumigation with agrotoxics, 

and to that purpose we introduce three notions to think the 

citizen self-organization: body, experience, narrative. These will 

be considered key aspects of the political practice in which the 

sense of politics as action is played, as the power of making and 

speaking of the citizenship that acts in self-defense. Through 

the act of their affective, cognitive and linguistic capacities, 

these citizens create learnings, practical wisdoms and 

achievements in the defense of their rights, but they are not free 

from problems and obstacles in their claim for justice.

 Key words: action; rights; health; environment; agrotoxics.


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