Planting Seeds, Growing Community. Encountering the body in its world, with an organization promoting food autonomy in Chiapas.
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Ten weeks of internship with DESMI, a nonprofit organization that accompanies indigenous communities towards food autonomy in Chiapas, Mexico, introduced me to other worlds where Western dichotomies break down. From my position as a white, Western European gender studies student anchored in an urban landscape, my thesis traces the path of de/re/construction of my relationship to the body, asking the following question: In what ways have the observed practices and discourses of DESMI allowed me to understand a non-anthropocentric conception of the body? Based on field notes taken as an intern, and an analysis of them embedded in the Epistemologies of the South and inspired by the Grounded Method Theory, I explore a relational conception of the body as promoted by DESMI, which recognizes itself in the relationships to others, to the human and non-human elements that surround it. Accompanied by community feminism, and especially Julieta Paredes’ “5 fields of action and struggles of women from the communities” and Lorena Cabnal’s understanding of the “body-territory”, the analysis of my field notes draws out the ways in which a consciousness of one’s body in the world is deployed in the practices and discourses of DESMI. In a nutshell, three main ways are emphasized: the balancing of theory and practice that enables the building of embodied knowledge; the emphasis put on the collective in the construction of all kinds of autonomy; and the anchoring of our bodies in the diversity of temporalities and territories from which they cannot be withdrawn.