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Volume 65 / Social Sciences

GEOGRAPHY: THE SOUTHERN CONE


CÉSAR N. CAVIEDES, Professor of Geography, University of Florida, Gainesville

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT CONTINUES to be a preferred theme of Southern Cone economists and environmentalists, who often employ an improper concept of this paradigm as exposed in a critical article by Peter Klepeis and Paul Laris (item #bi2009004049#). Following a trend established at the end of the 1990s, the consideration of water as a high-priced commodity essential for development and much coveted by governments, private enterprises, and individual cultivators continues to be a subject of great interest (item #bi2008000681#). A third theme garnering great attention is the examination of the economic agendas and advantages sought by each country participating in the Mercosur, particularly in view of the rapid globalization of regional economies (item #bi2009004007#).

As Anglo-American and European scholars gradually withdraw from research on Southern Cone countries, national scientists are filling the gap with a great degree of competence and originality. This is particularly evident when the quality of the papers published in the two major specialized journals from Chile, Revista de Geografia Norte Grande and Informaciones Geográficas, is considered. The publications from Chilean geographers demonstrate a modernity of approach and innovative methodologies and, as a result, the reputations of the journals are attracting contributors from Brazil, Argentina, and Europe. Unfortunately, a similar statement cannot be made about the state of Argentine geography. With regret one notices the discontinuity of the Boletin de Estudios Geográficos (Mendoza)—once the leading Argentine geographical journal—and the vanishing of Meridiano (Buenos Aires) in whose pages lively theoretical discussions were held and radical interpretations were debated.

In contrast with the small number of items included in previous issues of HLAS, research from North American scholars has noticeably increased. There are five articles on Argentina published in the highly visible Journal of Latin American Geography (items #bi2009004021#, #bi2009000076#, #bi2009004019#, #bi2009004024#, and #bi2008001810#), one paper on Chile (item #bi2009004655#), and one on Paraguay (item #bi2007003431#), which shake off the neglect for the Southern Cone evinced during the last two decades. It can be hoped that promised changes in attitude by the present government in Washington will further stimulate the academic interest in this region of the continent.


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