The natural and built environment of rural communities in southwestern Uruguay have been recently impacted by the intensification and expansion of agriculture. A large body of sociological and resilience literature highlights the importance of collective and community responses to stresses created by anthropogenic and/or natural changes. However, what has been less understood is how structural changes and sociopolitical contexts of rural communities impact their responses. Based on semi-structured interviews with key informants, participant observation at local public meetings during 2012 and 2013, and digital spatial analysis (between 2003 and 2016), we use the Community Capitals Framework to explore community resilience and collective agency, in response to multiple stresses in two communities of southwestern Uruguay. Results show multiple stresses affecting community well-being and the nature of sociopolitical contexts (social and political capitals), influenced local responses and access to resources. The analysis centers on structural changes of communities and critical aspects of social and political capitals as well as the needs for scholars and/or practitioners working on community resilience, to incorporate socio-spatial dimensions of inequality to better understand whether, why, and how communities respond to salient disruptions in specific rural settings.
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