Burning Questions
Fellowship Award Winners

Karen Hudlet Vázquez

Location: U.S.
Academic field: Geography
Award category: PhD Student

Topics to be Addressed during the Award Period

  1. A case study: The resistance of the community of Homun against a 49,000-pig farm in the state of Yucatan in Mexico which has now been suspended from operation by the government for over three years.
    • The case will be analyzed to understand the “frames” and “framing” involved – how different stakeholders inform and react to each other and change over time. Stakeholders in this case include: Communities directly affected by the pig farm, consumers, small-scale producers, environmentalists, companies, and government authorities.
    • The purpose of the analysis is to understand: 1. What are these frames (i.e. what are the views of various stakeholders) and how do they interact? 2. Which frames have been more useful than others in garnering media attention to mobilize society against the pig farm? 3. What scientific research, evidence, and knowledge is helpful in supporting certain frames? 4. How have certain frames – especially the use of litigation – been successful in supporting resistance?
  2. The Guidance Memo will also give suggestions on building networks and exchanging information among groups /organizations situated in high-income and low/middle-income countries as well as within a region such as Latin America.

Some of the Things We Really Liked when We Read the Application

  • The case is very much about the “here and now” (not an old case with little relevance for today).
  • NGOs are very interested in actual examples and practical steps of building networks and alliances. The analysis of an actual current case that also includes recommendations on how different groups can share information and cooperate fits the bill perfectly.
  • The applicant writes that there is “no single strategy” to oppose industrial farms or to orchestrate an informed debate about the impact of these facilities, but by learning from others and sharing information, local actors faced with such a farm coming to their neighborhood for the first time have “an opportunity for shortening the learning curve”.
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