Research topic: Latin America
Latin America is a region of great significance for current global challenges related to development and the environment.
Photo: Cecilie von Hirsch.
A continent of diversity
With its immense rainforests containing a large share of the world’s biodiversity it holds important resources for climate change mitigation as well as the conservation of species. Yet its rich natural resources are also a prerequisite for the rapid industrialization and economic growth for rising economic powers, whose demand for natural resources poses a significant challenge to Latin America’s own sustainable development. The last decade of innovative social policies and poverty reduction schemes in Latin America have become models for countries all over the world, whereas its historically rooted inequality continues to pose profound challenges for societal development. On the global political scene Latin America and its emerging great power, Brazil, pose new challenges to the dominance of the western powers while it is wrestling itself out of the historical dependence on the United States. This all occurs while indigenous populations that historically have been marginalized and oppressed have challenged the political control and ideological domination of the old elites and provided new visions for alternative development paths.
SUMs research on Latin America
This all makes it of particular importance to study Latin America at the present moment. SUM has over the last years developed as one of the most important institutions for the study of Latin America in Norway. There is currently ongoing research on sustainable consumption and wellbeing across socio-economic groups, gender and agricultural change, maternal health care in marginalized areas, social inequality, governance and nature conservation and the role of political and economic elites and public-private relations in development and environmental governance in Latin America. Since 2008 SUM has been the home to the Norwegian Latin America Research Network (NorLARNet) which is an important point of reference for all Latin America research in Norway.