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The Ruta 30 scenic road project in Argentine Tierra del Fuego has encountered significant resistance. In this article, we analyze a public hearing convened to assess the road’s impacts as an event illuminating the daily dynamics of the region. In this borderland, narratives about sovereignty create a space of liminalities between pasts and futures, centers and peripheries, and living and the dead. In this context, and with Patagonia’s expanding conservation and ecotourism frontiers, studying public reflexivity becomes crucial for understanding rapid changes. To this end, we employ Turner’s “social drama” concept to analyze the hearing as a performance enacting authorized discourses of experts, policymakers, environmentalists, industry, and workers. We conclude by discussing “liminal governance” in a border territory that transcends neoliberal and sovereign designs, and “impossible opposition,” revealing how the hearing reframed the road conflict as a sovereignty crisis, ultimately mitigating potential disruptions to established settler-colonial structures.

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The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology


DOI: 10.1111/jlca.12696

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