Enrique Aliste

Enrique Aliste is Full Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Chile (Chile). His fellowship at the Montpellier Advanced Knowledge Institute on Transitions runs from 1 September 2023 to 30 June 2024.


Enrique Aliste Almuna is Full Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Chile. With a PhD in geography and development studies from EHESS in Paris, France, he works in social and cultural geography, focusing on socio-environmental issues and sustainability in the Chilean and Latin American context. Member of the steering committee of the IGU commission “The Cultural Approach in Geography” (2013-2016) and “Global Understanding” (2017-2020/2021-2024). He works in several academic networks with universities in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Finland, Italy, Sweden, Spain, and Chile.

In 2018, he was awarded the National Geography Prize by the Chilean Society of Geographical Sciences, and in 2023, he was recognized by the American Geographical Society with the “Wrigly-Fairchild Prize”. Between 2022 and 2023, held the position of Vice President of Research at the University of Chile. Currently is researcher in the Montpellier Advanced Knowledge Institute on Transitions – MAK’IT at the University of Montpellier (between September 2023 and June 2024) as FIAS fellow, researching the geopolitical aspects of environmental scientific knowledge production in the Global South.

Visiting professor at French universities such as U. Sorbonne-Nouvelle (Pablo Neruda chair in 2016), EHESS, U. Panthéon-Sorbonne and U. de Poitiers. In Colombia, he is a visiting professor at the University of Caldas in the Territorial Studies doctoral program. He has published several articles, books, and chapters on environmental issues of geographical knowledge, social and cultural aspects of territorial knowledge, environmental and societal approaches, development studies and sustainable development, among other topics.

Research interests :

  • Social and cultural geography;
  • Sustainable development;
  • Socio-environmental conflicts;
  • Imaginaries of development

Project: Green discourses for, in and from the global south: a geopolitical approach on the production of scientific knowledge and environmental discourses about Latin America

Latin America (LA) is one of the regions whose dependence on commodities has strongly affected the socio-environmental relationships of their territories. Numerous situations of socio- environmental conflict have led to the establishment of an important focus of tensions and consequences because the economy and the GDP of the region is grounded on commodity exports. So, socio-environmental conflict has aroused a genuine interest in developing initiatives that seek to strengthen capacities and protect the environment in the region from several international instances and initiatives, many of them in dialogue with local communities.

By the other side, the geopolitics of knowledge has been a subject explored by STS studies, but not so much the link between scientific knowledge, production of green discourses and their geopolitical reading. In this way, the possible overlap between green discourses and environmental knowledge, which many times gives value to local discourses from the scientific research in the region (for example from studies in the field of political ecology) allows us to suggest as hypotheses that the subject continues to be thought about, discussed, and promoted from the global north to speak by the global south. This phenomenon, which shows a geopolitical dimension, is considered valuable to explore, as a field little discussed in general for LA and which becomes especially interesting in the context of global discourses of action for climate, protection of biodiversity, respect for local ways of life, etc., that have the endorsement of environmental organizations from the global north with action in the global south. International support from the global north, often coming from or strongly supported by scientific knowledge, have allowed important advances in justice, new frameworks for understanding the environment and new rationalities that are installed in the territories. In this way, the hypothesis that guides this research project is that the logics of production and dissemination of environmental scientific knowledge play a gravitating role in the morphology of the rationalities of green discourse, and that they can be translated into a geopolitical reading.

The aim of the research is to explore green discourses, in addition to the dissemination of environmental scientific knowledge that is produced about LA, analyzing its resulting geopolitical dimension. The specifics aims and activities are: A bibliometric analysis (databases of scientific journals); An inquiry into the main concepts from LA literature (specially coming from NGOs); A NGOs discourses analysis working in Chilean Patagonia, and; A cartography of environmental scientific discourses and knowledge on LA. The research includes a seminar at MAK’IT, at least two articles with cross collaboration between research team, with special attention on transitions framework and a discussion about the role of controversies in this context. We hope, at the same time, to enlarge the scientific cooperation between University of Chile and University of Montpellier.

Why a fellowship in Montpellier?

Montpellier is an interesting and recognized place for science and sustainability in different topics. In terms of research, this fellowship is amazing for me to share with colleagues coming from different fields of knowledge and places around the world. Is an incomparable opportunity to enrich a network about sustainability issues and challenges and, in global terms, is one of the first initiatives about transitions in the world. That is amazing.

Enrique is hosted by the research unit Knowledge, Environment, Societies (SENS). This fellowship in Montpellier is possible thanks to the programme French Institutes for Advanced Study – cofunded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 945408.

Recent publications on Enrique’s ORCID profile include:

  • Marin, J. et al. (2020) ‘Scientific controversy as a disaster risk factor: The 2007 seismic crisis in Patagonia, Chile’, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 49, p. 101639. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2020.101639.
  • Núñez, A., Benwell, M.C. and Aliste, E. (2022) ‘Interrogating Green Discourses in Patagonia-Aysén (Chile): Green Grabbing and Eco-Extractivism as a New Strategy of Capitalism?’, Geographical Review, 112 (5), pp. 688–706. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/00167428.2020.1798764.