Gendered practices and landscapes in the Andes: The shape of asymmetrical exchanges
Paulson, Sally L.
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This book chapter is a case study of the relationship between erosion of the mid-watershed slopes and socio-economic factors in high land Bolivia in the 1980s-1990s. Using political ecology, this case study explores the practices and processes that influence gendered practices in agriculture, cooking, and livestock management and how these gendered practices shape social and environmental landscapes. This chapter also discusses how commercial agricultural practices at the local, regional, and global level influence and change landscapes and social identities throughout time and space. The author uses three key approaches in the methodology: 1) participatory research methods (participatory mapping, transect walks) that explore local knowledge and ecological practices; 2) multi-scale views of connections between urban, rural, national, and international markets; and 3) power dynamics that influence differences and similarities in gender, social, and economic processes. Research has shown how management practices in cultivated and non-cultivated areas influence gender-based constraints, social inequality, and environmental degradation. This chapter identifies how women's access to non-cultivated areas (slopes) is diminishing, contributing to erosion, the loss of food quality and native plants, and fewer economic opportunities.