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Revista INVI

On-line version ISSN 0718-8358

Revista INVI vol.32 no.91 Santiago Dec. 2017 


Incorporating forests into homes. Transformations of the meanings given to the inhabited space

Juan Carlos Skewes Vodanovic4 

Felipe Trujillo Bilbao5 

Debbie Guerra Maldonado6 

4Chile. Alberto Hurtado University. Email:

5Chile. Alberto Hurtado University. Email:

6Chile. Institute of Anthropological Studies, Institute of Sexual and Reproductive Health, Austral University. Email:


Inhabiting suggests interconnecting spaces and emotions. Early social life experiences provide the world with key connotations that grant ontological security to subjects. The emotional grid of habitation enables recreating spaces of certainty, even in ever-changing territories. The expansion of capital into rural areas imposes forms of territorialization that constrain every aspect of local life, reducing the dimensions upon which habitation forms and practices are based and jeopardizing emotional constructions associated to a given place. This paper suggests that, in such circumstances, the long-term presence of inhabitants -and other variables- depends on the modification of their emotional connection with their environment. The experience of small farmers in Colliguay, central Chile in their reconversion into apiculture reveal the reinvention of the local space and the generation of emotions associated with a territory that gives new meanings to once-ignored dimensions: these events take place in a scenario where life dimensions have been dramatically reduced (from seeds to pollen and from cattle to hives), which however enable the creation of emotional bonds to aspects related to this new activity. Together with highlighting the emergence of renewed types of emotional attachments in inhabited space, this paper stresses the access to autonomy and sustainability opportunities provided by these scenarios.

Keywords: emotions; place; rural environment; habitation; apiculture.


The omission of emotions in the understanding of residential habitat could have only been associated with a pronounced theoretical bias. However, this was what exactly happened and social sciences became mostly governed by rationality when interpreting human phenomena, especially in the case of human habitation. In essential terms, human habitation refers to the emotional bonds that exist between inhabited spaces and inhabitants: this is the basis of ontological security3. Winnicott (1965) suggests that the psychological foundations of this relationship are generated when children are separated from rearing models and when there is a need to control the external non-self-dimension. From this perspective, objects replace what has been lost, thus generating a protective figure that reduces anxiety and creates the illusion of control. This is when transitional control comes into play, acting as a third party that mediates the inner self and the external object-world. According to Winnicott, this third sphere will become the resting place for those who are constantly reconciling their inner selves with their external realities. The study of emotions in social sciences is a relatively new activity; this is mainly due to the prevalence of a traditional way of thinking that has remained rooted in different Cartesian lines of thought that permeate both the methodological sphere and the theoretical debates on social research. As positivism and its distinction between the objective and subjective dimensions became to rise, emotion and affection were complemented by two aspects presumably unrelated to scientific research: irrationality and indiscipline, two conditions that were lately transformed into feminine features in order to justify masculine domination in the production of knowledge (Boufer, 2007).

Social sciences have progressively incorporated affects and emotions into the explanation of different phenomena. These are the cases of Marcel Mauss (1971) and his research on magic, which transcended rigid and Eurocentric categories that defined this practice as an irrational activity; E.E. Evans-Pritchard (1976), who still within the margins of rationality broke with tradition when unveiling the logic underlying sorcery activities; and Lévi-Strauss (1971), whose research on symbolic efficacy paved the way for the development of what it is known today as performance. These examples illustrate a wide array of social phenomena where subjective elements cannot be ignored. By the end of the XX century, the works of Bourdieu and Foucault became the basis for the study of the relationships among daily life, body, domination, space and the production of emotional experiences (Bolaños, 2016). As for anthropology, authors such as Geertz (Atencia Escalante, 2005) and especially Le Breton (2012) have furthered the study of emotions within the context of an affective culture where emotions are linked to a significant set of works which, apart from identifying them at a given historical point, project them beyond individual or biological spheres.

The question about emotions has always been raised in heated anthropological debates: Are emotions universal in nature or culturally conceivable? (Sáenz, 2004). These discussions, especially those on the work conducted by Michelle Rosaldo (1980), gave rise to the anthropology of emotions, a discipline that regards affects as a social and differentiated construct where subjectivity is associated with major social processes (Bolaños, 2016, p. 179). In this sense affects are closely related to the specific ways in which power-knowledge relationships are shaped and that anthropological practice could not ignore during its reflexivity phase (Gómez Ruíz, 2013). Also, Middleton (1989) uses the concept of emotional style to explore individual experiences in relation to the group-based moral and cognitive structures that provide individuals with the meaning and motivation with which they interpret their self in the daily life. As noted before, Le Breton (2012) draws on the concept of -affective culture, which “permeates its relationship with the world” while mobilizing and giving sense and meanings to emotions, In this regard, it is argued that:

“emotion has no reality in itself, it does not stem from the physiology that ignores cultural or social circumstances, it does not express the nature of man, but his social conditions of existence reflected in physiological and psychological changes” (p. 70).

Despite progress made in this field, the study of the social aspects of affects or their effects on the shaping of spaces, transient areas or settlements is still a pending subject in social sciences. This paper aims to contribute in filling this gap through the exploration of the role of emotions and affects in the construction of place. The geography practiced by the individual takes on a special meaning when emotional bonds are incorporated into historicized personal and collective identity-related experiences (Basso, 1996). The relationship is made flesh in the forms of residence used by individuals, who need to creatively coexist with the material dimension in which they are immersed (Bunkše, 2007). This enables the identification of different forms of integration between spaces and people that are not exclusively limited to observation or esthetical admiration; instead, they serve as bridges to access the non-human and object world (Conradson and McKay, 2007).

Residential practices are anchored in spaces whose emotional reminiscences are meaningful to residents. As suggested by Lévi-Strauss, such practices set up the environment, enabling its emerging properties to adopt specific meanings “according to the historical and technical form of any given activity” (1962, p. 142). An ethnographic approach to particular cases enables unveiling the emotional articulations and practices that shape the habitability conditions within a specific territory, which result in making place, that is, in settling in emotional and semiotic terms (Criado, 1999; Tuan, 1979; Zedeno, Austin and Stoffle, 1997).

In its de-personalizing effort, the commodification of territories faces an emotional topography that encourages the resistance of local dwellers to abandon what they feel constitutes part of themselves, rather than only a space. In view of the volatility of identities that characterize - contemporary societies, Elsa Ramos (2006) poses that inhabited places counteract the instability of current identities. Amongst all these spaces, the place of origin -including their scents and materialities- is the only space that may confer coherence to the experiences of those whose identities have been eroded by rapid globalization.

Following their emotional tenacity, under the new historical circumstances, rural producers aim at both preserving their autonomy and sustainability and finding new allies from different species such as bees and native trees. As will be discussed later in this paper, these emotional processes are defined prospectively by the establishment of new alliances between humans and non-humans; among people; and between global and local scales (Ruiz and Galicia, 2016).

The question as to what turns the world into a habitable space is not fully answered by the mere presence of amenities -or provisions according to Gibson (2015). Habitability refers to the attachment of an individual to a specific territory and the intimate identity that is created and recreated between this space and a given area of the planet, bearing in mind that while the sense of place is informed by a collective, is ultimately experienced at a personal level. This notion is inscribed in the transit from the idea of product (habitat) to the idea of process (inhabiting), which modifies the core concepts of geographical reflections about the world. According to Lazzarotti (2015), there are three senses associated with the concept of habitation: first, inhabiting the world (cohabitation); second, the spatial nature of life (life occurs within a given space); and third, the dialectic relationship between what is being made and what has been done (habitation occurs while the space is being constructed). From this author’s perspective, the act of inhabiting becomes a geographical condition. The inhabited space and the spatiality of inhabitants become critical identity elements that lead individuals to live in cohabitation.

According to Alicia Lindón (2014), the act of inhabiting is a primal experience that is constantly repeated over the course of our lives. People are territorialized beings who build their identity in one or several places or in several places at the same time. Their existence is mediating and binding in nature. The other individuals who participate in identity-building relationships are also part of these places. This author suggests that in the identity of every person there is a part associated with inhabited places, thus requiring the adoption of a geographical approach. In this sense, making place is not only related to local histories, but also to the creation of a given area and the recreation of the events occurred there over generations (Basso, 1996).

Places carry emotional marks that permeate the different layers of collective history: Alicia Lindón explores these marks in spaces infused with violence. In her words: “The spatial form embodies violence/fear, and its materiality makes people avoid this symbolically marked place” (Lindón, 2008, p. 2). This does not deny that the meaning of a given spatial form may vary within the context of new historical circumstances. Therefore, places are changing, original and transformable according to the decisions of inhabitants, despite the latter being subject to imposed possibilities and restrictions.

Given the close relationship that exists between an emotional order and the affective dimension expressed by the former, this paper merges both concepts in an attempt to privilege the spatial dimension of affects and emotions. These notions are particularly important in geography as they are associated with the construction of place, especially in the works of Yi Fu Tuan (1979) and his concept of topophilia (and its antonym: topophobia). However, it was Davidson who included affects and emotions-dimensions ignored in the understanding of territorial phenomena-as subjects of disciplinary concern, incorporating them into her research on emotional geography (Bonde, Davidson and Smith, 2007, p. 1). Emotions take place first in the body of individuals and then in other spatial scales such as those related to urban, rural, domestic or community-based environments (Davidson and Milligan, 2004).

The introduction of apiculture in Chile, especially within the context of the decline in the agricultural and livestock sector, has transformed the concept of place that informs daily life, modifying affects and emotions, recreating different relationships with the place of origin and revealing the occurrence of spatial changes in multiple scales4. At the same time, these phenomena occur at different levels and are only affected by the space-time constrictions early identified by Hagerstrand (Predd, 1977). In this sense, time-space geography enables us to make comparisons between the different phenomena that take place within micro-local environments and events associated with large portions of land.

Apiculture implies a radical transformation of the scales upon which the social and emotional lives of residential communities are based. This is the vital context that gives rise to the immediate dimension which, influenced by livestock activity, was pushed into the background. The affection towards highlands, mountain border crossings, movement and the relationship with livestock are exchanged for the emotions attached to the immediate space that surrounds the dwellings, which is inhabited by bees (Apis mellifera) within a 3km radius. This immediate dimension brings some surprises: the emotional attachment that exists between humans and bees promote and strengthen the knowledge, appreciation and residential use of native forests; this is an essential step for the achievement of proper cohabitation between human and non-human inhabitants within a specific area (Moore and Kosut, 2014).

In this context, the Colliguay valley is a privileged space for the study of the emotional dimensions related to the act of inhabiting. To this end this paper analyses the lives of local beekeepers and their emotional, productive and daily-based relationships with the territory. The perspectives of this group are then complemented by the opinions of other dwellers, with a focus on a group of spinner workers, whose testimonies shed light on the configuration of the local space used by farmers and cattle breeders. This research then compares the symbolic distance between forests, their habitability and the latter group to the immediate access beekeepers have to these very spaces.

The first part of this paper describes the affects both groups have towards the native forest and then explores the differences between these two approaches. The second part of this research analyses how these affects are associated with different residential forms and practices. It concludes that a series of scales based on the use and valuation of space are generated according to the emergence of different forms of emotional and productive relationships.


As a result of the major changes generated by global economy, local populations have seen themselves forced to migrate or implement reorganization and readaptation measures within their territories. The restrictions imposed by the market have required the reinvention of old areas both in urban rural contexts. These scenarios are highly sensitive when it comes to interrogating the role of affects in the construction and reconstruction of spaces that have no relationship with the childhood or youth lived memories of local dwellers. This is the case of the once so-called new rural areas (Kay, 2009), which emerged as a response to capital expansion. The challenge for local residents who decided to remain living in the same area despite these new circumstances is to recreate their spaces of life; such an endeavor entails unravelling new meanings from the territory. There is an interesting case that involves rural producers who, over the last twenty years and encouraged by the implementation of public policies, have developed an activity that has enabled them to recreate themselves in areas that were once used for agricultural, livestock, mining or logging purposes. At a small level, producers have changed their livelihoods through, an activity that has enabled them to organize their life processes and discover or create new meanings within their residential areas.

This research was conducted in the Colliguay valley (Figure 1), Quilpué, V Region. This area is rich in native sclerophyll forests, which are formed by plant species designed to endure the harsh summer conditions prevalent in central zone of Chile. This vegetation generally emerges in the form of brush, secondary forests in slope areas or relic forests (Quintanilla, 1983). Historically, the Colliguay valley has been associated with agricultural and livestock activities, mining and the production of coal and fuelwood (Sapaj, 1998).

Source: Elaborated by Catalina Zumaeta according to data released by SIT CONAF, 2016.

Figure 1 Area of study: Colliguay. 

This research uses a qualitative ethnographic approach that focuses on conversations with local residents, guided tours and in-depth interviews. This methodology is complemented by a survey applied to beekeepers with a focus on the relationship that they have developed with the native species that characterize local sclerophyll forests. All information was gathered in 2016; however, fieldwork was still being conducted while this paper was written.

This research design includes a purposive, non-probability sample that considers all rural producers identified within the study area, disregarding whether they are associated with native forests or not. This search revealed that apiculture is a growing activity in the area and it is closely related to native vegetation; this led us to survey all beekeepers within the area (23) and complement their answers with further visits, conversations and interviews. This research instrument considered the valuation, knowledge and use of arboreal species associated with apiculture and considered qualitative aspects about the different local know-hows - and productive, preservation or educational practices developed in parallel with apiculture.

Table 1 describes the sampling used in this research, highlighting the predominance of male beekeepers. The information provided by them was complemented by the views of a group of 13 female spinner workers. A series of group conversations with the female spinner workers were organized to discuss about their knowledge, stories and relationship with the forest.

Table 1 Beekeepers surveyed in Colliguay. 

Gender Age group n %
Male Adult (30 a 60) 12 52%
Older adult (+ 60) 8 34%
Female Adult (30 a 60) 1 4%
Older adult (+ 60) 2 8%
Total 23 100%

Source: Elaborated by the authors, 2017.

These conversations, guided tours and surveys were conducted to identify the transformations generated by apiculture and, especially, the knowledge and affects attached to this activity and its local environment. The interaction with respondents revealed the affective tones that shape the relationships with the environment and the species inhabiting the sclerophyll forest. Within this context, this paper sets a cross-cutting theme concerning productive, medicinal, esthetic or botanical knowledge and testimonies about the relationships with the local space.

This research enabled us to understand the semantic transformations and changes in the practical and affective involvement generated by apiculture and their effects on those who worked as farmers and rural employees up until the 1990s. These transformations are associated with the production of a reduced residential habitat that went from having dozens of acres to a single acre, which is the theoretical space used by bees.

New Productive Scenarios, New Forms of Inhabiting

Given the limited access to this area, the rural characteristics of the Colliguay valley remained unaltered for a longer period of time when compared to other rural communities located in central Chile. However, the late 1990s witnessed the expansion of capital into this area. The result of that expansion was the proliferation of country houses, second homes and an increase in the influx of seasonal tourists. The presence of mining activities and walnut plantations in the upper areas of the valley affected the possibilities to develop a lifestyle associated with agriculture, animal breeding and, especially, muleteering. Environmental awareness and related policies implemented during this period halted the development of key economic activities: logging, collection of leaf mold and coal production.

The territorial transformations generated by capital expansion were exacerbated by drought, the formation of barriers that restricted the flow of water and global warming. These events generated a water scarcity scenario in which the livestock sector -a traditional and once important activity- was seriously affected; this led to the implementation of initiatives to reinvent local production (Calderón, 2014; Góngora and Borde 1954).

Within this context marked by territorial restrictions, local dwellers had no choice but to migrate, find jobs in the services sector -including housekeeping and tourism- or resettle in order to maintain their self-sufficiency and autonomy. These circumstances laid the basis for the development of apiculture, which emerged as a strong and viable alternative. In this regard, a beekeeper says: “No, we are not going to leave them [our animals]. However, we had a decision to make, and I chose bees” (excerpt from an interview with a beekeeper; Colliguay, February, 2016). Gradually, cattle and crops were replaced by bees and their colorful apiaries, which spread across the valley, contrasting with the clay-colored hills and the green sclerophyll patches of the area. Simultaneously, emotional bonds were modified. In the words of a respondent: “I prefer my bees rather than other animals, I feed them every eight days and I get results” (excerpt from an interview with a beekeeper; Colliguay, February, 2016).

Source: Sketch depicting the residence of a beekeeper. Apiaries, vegetation and hills. Drawn by Patricio Aravena, February, 2017.

Figure 2 Apiculture and vegetation, Colliguay. 

Source: Sketch depicting a cattle breeders residence. Drawn by Patricio Aravena, February, 2017.

Figure 3 Habitat intended for animal breeding purposes, Colliguay. 

Supported by State-led incentives to production associated with the Ministry of Agriculture (Minagri), the Institute for Agricultural Development (Indap) and the Local Development Program (Prodesal), apiculture has become a characteristic activity common to Colliguay in the last decades.

The change of scale from activities such as muleteering or agriculture, which require large or medium tracts of land, to apiculture implies the emergence of an unknown dimension. Figure 2 shows the characteristics of the residential space used by a rural producer in Colliguay, which flags the difference in terms of magnitude in relation to the dimensions required for the development of the residential and productive lives of cattle breeders, as shown in Figure 3.

According to Figure 3, the decline in the livestock sector has turned rural plots of land into residual areas, which are used for tourism purposes, the construction of second homes and other activities associated with the changes that have been occurring over the last decades. Therefore, settling does not only refer to the development of the livestock activity, the search for water or agriculture, but also to venturing into the knowledge of the forest always present but, in the words of a local dweller, far away in “the heights”. Native species such as pines (Acacia caven), soapbarks (Quillaja saponaria), boldos (Peumus boldus) or peumos (Cryptocarya alba) have always been present; however, they were never associated with hills, regarded as an obstacle for the development of the livestock or agricultural activities or used for the production of coal. Nowadays these species are being incorporated into the habitat. “Had it not been for this I would not have had the chance to know them. Because one is looking for the tree that can be more productive, one find a pellitory, examine how many flowers this plant has and think about the workload of bees” (interview with a beekeeper, February, 2016). This view is reinforced by the testimony of another respondent:

“Colliguay plants, boldos, soapbarks, litres, spring grass and even weeds produce flowers; bees also explore alfalfa. Corontillo plants are also good because of its honey-like characteristics, which are frequently exploited by bees. Most of these native plants are regularly explored by bees. Even rosemaries, which are about to bloom. [About the main plants?] Almond trees and colliguay plants, and then soapbarks and peumos because of their honey-like characteristics. When it comes to bees, native trees are more convenient to me” (interview with a beekeeper; Colliguay, February, 2016).

As for affects, which switched from animals to bees: “they are the most intelligent mosquitoes created by the Lord, just imagine that such a small creature is capable of sustaining our lives when it produces honey, it is a wonder” (interview with a spinner worker; Colliguay, July, 2016). These species provide bees with food. This is why the main findings from the interviews with beekeepers refer to the relationship among apiculture and the interest, valuation and knowledge about local sclerophyll vegetation. To some extent, these species determine the organization of habitat; as shown in Figure 2.

The habitat of beekeepers shrinks, distances are shortened and space is turned into a compact area. Hives become a constituent part of residences which, in turn, become part of the forest; this contrasts with the breeding of large animals, which require considerable portions of land. In fact, all of beekeepers from Colliguay declared they know the forest exclusively because of apiculture. Within this scenario, bees emerged as the key guiding elements behind this reorganization of local life. Through the identification of tree and shrub species, their blooming periods -which are essential to determine production seasons- and the places where this specimens grow, the forest becomes part of the daily lives of producers and vice versa. A semantic mutation has been produced in the sense and meaning of place: shrubs become home. Such a mutation is only possible through the practical engagement in an activity that requires the establishment of a relationship based on affection and care with the animal species with which we coexist. The vast mountain context, which is where the personal relationship between muleteers and their animals took -and still takes- place, was substituted with the slopes and estuaries where apiaries are now located. In this new scenario, the forest is incorporated into the daily lives of local producers.

The old scales of muleteering practices, some of which still exist today, suggest that the use of land should be determined by the implementation of milestones and circuits suitable for the dimensions and needs of animals. As the site plan in Figure 4 shows, the organization of farmyards illustrates the dimension that governed the lives of local people for centuries.

Source: Sketch depicting the residence of a cattle breeder in Colliguay. Drawn by Patricio Aravena, February, 2017.

Figure 4 Farmyards. 

This practical, affective and semiotic approach of beekeepers towards the native forest has two senses. The first one refers to the sense of residence, which extends the observable horizon and areas to be explored by dwellers, who may eventually reach the vegetable species that sustain their economic activity; they observe the native species that surround them, which are then analyzed, identified and protected. According to respondents, bees fly up to 3km radius to obtain food. This situation generates awareness among beekeepers as to the type of vegetation that grows within this distance; as a result, they explore, identify and take symbolic possession of the forest, which is regarded as the habitat that houses both humans and bees. The excerpt below clearly describes this new relationship between humans and the forest:

“One becomes more emotionally attached to trees because one knows they yield products. In the past, when I was a child, this did not happen, they were trees and nothing more. Trees were exploited to produce coal. People used to work in this activity here in the countryside. Today nobody cuts down trees. Everything has changed. Didn’t you see the road landscape when reaching this area? I think this is pretty, people come here and see all these trees surrounding the roads” (interview with a beekeeper and trader; Colliguay, July, 2016).

The affective relationship that exists among people, bees and the species that generate food -apart from their production of nectar and pollen- does not only contribute to the protection of native forests, but also to the expansion of these ecosystems; the latter is possible so long as producers commit themselves to plant new specimens. In this way, the beekeepers from Colliguay are incorporating the forest into their dwellings. This initiative generates a network of affective attachments: people know, incorporate and love the forest.

The intimate connection with native species is possible thanks to apiculture; this activity invites users to know and take practical and symbolic possession of the forest, incorporating it in a new scale into their daily lives. The importance of species is incorporated as part of the identity of beekeepers; as a result, this relationship grows in importance when it comes to secure the survival of the environmental heritage. The switching from indifference to affection involves the transformation of the meanings given to trees and other living beings. In the past, estimates were made according to revenues or economic costs associated with shrubs and groves; today, however, more complex meanings intimately committed to aspects related to personal wellbeing, aesthetic and environmental awareness are starting to claim their presence into local geography. Within a context marked by growing water restrictions, bees are started to be seen as omen of future events. To this regard a spinner worker says: “My brother Fernando said to me ‘Look Nelly, when bees die we have two years left.’ Bees pollinate everything, this little bug is really important” (interview with a spinner worker; Colliguay, September, 2016).

In fact, all of respondents acknowledged the importance of the activities intended to protect native forests, either through fire management education and prevention of fires or other methods to preserve trees and secure their growth and reproduction. “No native trees no honey” (interview with a beekeeper; Colliguay, February, 2016). The vegetal environment is no longer used to feed cattle; it is restored, referred to and loved.

The above does not mean that the productive dimension of apiculture is excluded from discourses and valuations. When asked about why he decided to engage in the beekeeping business, a local producer says: “It was for economic reasons; apiculture is the most profitable activity. Because bees do not only produce honey, but pollen, beewax, propolis, royal jelly” (interview with a former director of a beekeeping association, July, 2016). The difference lies in the interaction between the beekeeping business and other activities developed within the area; in this scenario, apiculture is incorporated into a series of practices and representations that promote protection and valuation initiatives, such as tourism. This is because the arrival of potential honey buyers in Colliguay depends on the forest, while tourism will be enabled only by an attractive landscape where native forest is the key.

These affectivities also generate personal relationships with trees nearby. The forest is care for and attended to when is brought into the dwelling. And the plot of land, the dwelling is reshaped around this new relationship: “No, we only have a few trees intended for personal consumption”, says one of our respondents. “I work a little the almond tree for the bees. Also a bit of walnuts” (interview with a beekeeper and fruit producer; Colliguay, February, 2016). Vegetation is planted according to the needs of bees. In this regard, a local dairy producer says: “My animals are housed in the barn, I do not let them go outside. Here I can watch them, feed them, I have milk, cheese, I care for anything they may need” (interview with a producer of dairy products and beekeeper, July, 2016). Likewise, aesthetic considerations influence the layout of plants within dwellings, combining in these forms the feeding needs of bees, humans as well as the local ecology (Figure 5).

Source: Sketch depicting the residence of a beekeeper; Colliguay. Drawn by Patricio Aravena, February, 2017.

Figure 5 Residential complex and local vegetation. 

Figure 5 describes the cohabitation among the different patterns associated with the territorial transformations of the valley. According to this sketch, the house begins to look like the forest, but incorporating and blending different types of vegetation: ornamental, apiculture-related and others for domestic consumption. At the interior of the dwelling, daily lives carve microscopic paths that reveal the solidary presence of bees, humans, plants and trees.

Likewise, Figure 5 also shows the different dimensions and spaces that serve as the basis for the development of affects and symbols associated with the reconfiguration of Colliguay. In observing the spatial arrangement of a portion of land that houses different commercial and residential activities reveals the cohabitation among bees, fruit and ornamental plantations. They create paths that surround rooms and other areas of the dwelling, contrasting sharply with the breeding of animals and its medium-sized scale. This Figure also sheds light on the integration of the residential dimension into other vegetation-related dimensions and dynamics. Figure 6 shows houses and their progression from domestic to beekeeping functions, including their contact with hills and sclerophyll vegetation. Thus, bees bring a fragment, a micro-cosmos of the forest, into the dwelling giving rise to new forms of cohabitation based on knowledge of, and emotional attachment to, the environment which beekeepers and bees are part of.

Source: Sketch depicting the residence of a beekeeper. Drawn by Patricio Aravena, February, 2017.

Figure 6 Layout and physical distribution of dwellings. 

These emotional bonds mobilize practices and generate a sense of belonging among beekeepers. Thus, drawing on a reading inspired by de Certeau’s (1984) a work on displacement, culture and practices, as well as on other ethnographic research on the emotion-based projection of practices, it is possible to observe that mobility does not only refer to the displacement of people and objects, but also reveals a fragile association among movement, practices, representations and sociocultural elements (Cresswell, 2010; Voiculescu, 2014).

The presence of this cluster of activity enables the reformulation of territorial identity. This does not mean that old stockbreeding icons such as rodeo, horsemen and animals have faded into oblivion as they are still important identity elements. The decline in the symbolic cattle breeding sector has turned this tradition into a spectacle, which has lost its former communitarian celebratory nature. However, this is not the only dimension of a territorial identity that has adopted new environmental components, especially native trees and honey production. If there is something to highlight in the different conversations and interviews conducted in the area, is that most of respondents emphasized the importance of Colliguay honey, a designation of origin that has been unscrupulously counterfeited by producers from other areas. Honey, water and native vegetation become a new territorial horizon that shapes and inject life to Colliguay. As a result, old places have been transformed in order to provide a space for those who still inhabit there. This leads to the emergence of a new form of habitation that creates a mosaic-like structure composed of different one-acre plots, country houses, camping zones for tourists, walnut plantations, croplands and a small livestock sector that moves to mountain areas yearly, during the summer season.

Conclusion: The other dwellings located in the Forest. The Apis Mellifera as a mediator and facilitator of Affects and Knowledge

The study of how products are made enables us to properly understand the residential and inhabiting processes. In Ingold’s (2010) terms, the reading switches from the death -what was made- to life - the act of making - offering new possibilities to understand the mutual involvement of species in the establishment of their dwellings. The analysis of the act of making should not ignore the emotional bonds that contribute to being in the world. Thus, following Guinard and Tratnjek (2016), emotions become consolidated as legitimate and essential subjects of study in the field of social sciences; as a continuously evolving phenomenon that demands the generation of new scales and strategies of analysis.

The approaches of Ingold and Lazzarotti focus on the inhabitant, thus adding complexity and inverting the question about the role of humans in the world: What is the role of the world within the human context? The discipline in charge of answering this question is not contemplative, but experiences the perspective referred to by Ingold as the worlds of life, which is part of “the becoming of life itself” (Lindón, 2014, p. 57). As noted by Lazzarotti (2015, p. 36), this processual approach invites all social sciences to discuss on the act of inhabiting, where rigid structures intended to answer the above question, such as the distinctions between nature-nurture, individual-collective and sensitivity-rationality disappear.

Within a context marked by global economic restructuration, the transformation of the productive practices of small rural producers reveals the dynamic nature of the settlement process and offers a habitation model suitable to face the diversity-based scenarios common to the contemporary world. Productive reorientation highlights habitability as the result of dynamic processes generated by people in their effort to find a place to live in the world. Beyond this initial verification, the experiences drawn from this research offer important aspects that deserve to be explored. Thus, there are the emotional clusters that make inhabiting possible. And also there is the reorientation of the relationship between human beings and objects, where the role played by the former is reduced to favor the involvement of other species in the construction of human habitation.

The findings of this research highlight that the relationship with the environment is mediated by the emotions of people towards the species that contribute to their productive activities. The cohabitation derived from this relationship enables the configuration of a world that is permeated by emotions. In the same way the livestock activity generates veneration for water courses and highland meadows and fear towards snowstorms and landslides, bees invite producers to appreciate the space that surrounds their residences, generate emotional attachment to trees and their blossoms and question the use of pesticides, the cutting down of trees and the arrival of invasive species.

The experience of inhabiting a place, which is regarded as the understanding and reflective phase of space mobility, is determined by affects. Different studies are consistent with this finding and invite us to understand emotions as a platform to observe, organize and inhabit the world (De Sousa, 1987), as a heuristic tool for understanding personal and family-based orientations (Williams, 2001) and, at a representational level, as a means to reconstruct how specific actors cognitively understand the world (Thrift, 2004). Such a relationship also takes place at the everyday level; in this case, it adopts a privileged temporality for habitat reproduction purposes (Lussault, 2015). As discussed earlier, the emotional factor grants access to a new world that involves the generation of knowledge, relationships and new scales associated with the development of human activities (Dienno and Thompson, 2013). It should also be added that these processes are not strictly associated with the human dimension as they involve the presence of different species and environments generated by these interactions. In this sense, the emotional space transcends the human sphere.

In the case study, it is worth recognizing the flexibility of new residential practices and how they relate themselves to their older counterparts. These new relationships give rise to a series of emotional dimensions that add complexity to local identities, without weakening them. The scale associated with muleteers reveals an emotional bond that operates over a vast territory; in this case, despite the reduction in the number of animals, this activity is still praised by the local community. In this regard, apiculture and its landscape expression are embedded in a context where different forms of experiencing contemporary life converge (Galleguillos and Ojeda, 2016). Therefore, it is essential to recognize the prevalence of a common emotional space as a background of this heterogeneity, which sustains and hosts the development of different practices. This leads us to identify the presence of a series of differentiated emotional tonalities that reveal diverse forms of attachment to the territory. Each of these dimensions is part of a process marked by constant dialogue with the place and negotiation of the experience of inhabiting, without threatening common heritage (Voiculescu, 2014).

Influenced by global restructuration, the experience of the beekeepers from Colliguay reveals the role of the different scales in the configuration of the contemporary sphere and the possibilities to advance towards cohabitation, including the preservation of natural heritage. As previously noted, the leap from the livestock activity to apiculture -or from seeds to pollen- represents a dramatic step where the whole everyday dimension is drastically reduced but the bond is deeper; once distributed over vast areas, resources are now condensed, becoming immediately available to producers. This transformation does not only involve new forms of mobility and relationships between people and the environment, it also includes renewed forms of socio-environmental metabolism and structural correlation. From the local residents’ perspective, the once external forest has become an internal ecosystem and emotions have been attached to previously ignored environmental aspects. These relationships may be the ideal method to ensure proper cohabitation between humans and the environment, thus contributing to the protection of the native forest. This formula is less harmful than the creation of rural plots of land to build country houses, which involves the destruction of forests, and innocuous when compared with the mining activity.

To conclude, it is worth highlighting that the experience of beekeepers offers new possibilities for the emergence of a series of mosaic-like territories where different forms of articulation with the environment are allowed, so long as there is a legal framework intended to regulate these alliances. In a context marked by economic interests, it is clear that market decisions do not ensure the provision of water, land, a pollution-free environment or the survival of native forests (Bauer, 2002). The lack of regulations poses a constant threat to the emergence of living worlds, especially in circumstances governed by the increasing demand of resources.

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Received: February 28, 2017; Accepted: August 31, 2017

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