La construcción del discurso agroquímico plaguicida : de la OMS a los territorios


Leff Zimmerman, Enrique
Rofman, Alejandro Boris

Spatial Coverage

Temporal Coverage





1092 p.


Atribución-NoComercial-SinDerivadas 2.0 Genérica (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)




Buenos Aires (province)


The globalized neoliberalism’s hegemonic discourse, including the one that promotes the use of biocidal agrochemicals, is sustained to a very significant degree by the construction of legitimacies of the productive processes inserted in the technoeconomic logic that it proposes and promotes. To a very important degree, this construction is achieved through alterations, contradictions, concealments and fallacies in the discourses constructed by those who promote those productive processes.

The damage to human health and the environment produced by these agrochemical biocides are increasingly perceived, highlighted, and confronted by those being affected and their organizations, by the doctors who attend them, by civil society organizations, some academic centers, some official institutions and some journalistic media, that articulate, build and stand on a discourse of socioenvironmental ethics and the sustainability of life.

This confrontation of rationalities occurs, develops and is resolved favorably or unfavorably in the field of political ecology, conceptualized as the study of conflicts of ecological distribution; of the relations of power and political conflict over the ecological distribution and social struggles for the appropriation of nature. It is the space of controversies about the ways of understanding the relationship between humanity and nature, the history of the exploitation of nature and the oppression of cultures, of their subsumption to capitalism and the rationality of the global worldsystem.

In this dissertation I seek to account mainly for the construction of the discourse that seeks to validate and legitimize the use of pesticides from the toxicological point of view.

The hegemonic system is based on the imposition of relations of subordination between, on the one hand, the companies producing these substances and the technological package also made up of the transgenic seeds of crops resistant to these pesticides, the economic sectors that benefit from their use, State institutions, academic and professional institutions without independent criteria; and on the other, the sectors of society that suffer from the social and environmental consequences of the decisions made by sectors that belong to the previous hegemonic group, which confront them, and that promote the agroecological production, distribution and consumption systems.

Since its origin, this undemocratic subordination starts from a hierarchical and inequitable conception of society. Those who manufacture, market and benefit from the preparation and sale of pesticides, participate in the preparation of the studies and reports with which the toxicological classifications of biocide agrochemicals are established, have the explicit right to carry out and/or contract the professionals who will carry out these studies, and also to prevent them from being made public, as well as to participate in the groups that elaborate the normative projects that regulate their use both at the national level and in the local territories. On the other hand, those who suffer from the socio-environmental consequences of the use of biocide agrochemicals, either directly or by ingesting them with the food they consume on a daily basis, the doctors who attend them, the civil society organizations that seek to make visible and defend their rights, and agroecological producers, are prevented from accessing the toxicological studies used for the products’ registration and, most of the time, they do not participate in the groups where the regulations are elaborated or consulted.

I propose the hypothesis that the discourse that justifies the use of biocidal agrochemicals is built successively by a group of natural and legal persons constituted by entrepreneurs who benefit monetarily from the productive system that requires these products, by the associations that group them, by the international organizations that elaborate discourses that privilege those private benefits over the satisfaction of the needs of the population and the preservation of environmental systems, and by public and academic institutions in some way linked to these business sectors, and it neglects to show the environmental, social and economic risks and damages that their use generates, oversizing social and private benefits, and it conceals as well the agro-ecological productive alternatives that do not generate those risks and damages.

That the construction of the toxicological justification (scientific, political and legal) of the use of pesticides in this hegemonic discourse is sought through the articulation of expert reports, investigations, regulations and discourses in which the contents that can interfere in that legitimation are being altered, contradicted, concealed and/or falsified. The data of the dissertation are the alterations, concealments, conflicts of interest, contradictions, inconsistencies and fallacies detected throughout the critical analysis of the discursive construction.

I critically analyze these documents seeking to detect these data in the main arguments used to build this justification in local territories of the Province of Buenos Aires. Temporarily, from the beginning of the 90s until 2015.

The anti-hegemonic discourse of the food production system based on sustainable and solidary production, which articulates family farming, “la Via Campesina”, and the different forms of agroecology, as well as the elaboration and marketing of proximity and/or in solidarity networks, and its gradual consolidation as an alternative hegemonic discourse, also arises in the development of this dissertation.

Título obtenido

Doctor de la Universidad de Buenos Aires en Ciencias Sociales

Institución otorgante

Universidad de Buenos Aires. Facultad de Ciencias Sociales

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