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Livelihood Alterations and Indigenous Innovators in the Ecuadorian Amazon
Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2581-2588
Stockholm University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7088-971X
Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5522-5280
2023 (English)In: Alternautas, E-ISSN 2057-4924, Vol. 10, no 1, p. 95-125Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article approaches livelihood alterations in Indigenous communities of the Ecuadorian Amazon as means of adaptation and resistance to socio-environmental impacts brought along by the expansion of global capitalism. The cases comprise collective Indigenous endeavors in typically capitalist sectors -tourism and mining -illustrated by the experiences of Kichwa community tourism in Shiripuno in the central Amazon, and sustainable mining in the southern Amazonian Shuar community of Congüime (Kenkuim). Theaim is to unravel these emerging livelihood strategies in relation to Indigenous ethno-cultural identity. Methodologically, we rely on comparative and ethnographic work in the field with Indigenous actors, and on a theoretical framework anchored in the concepts of innovators, cultural boundary changes (Fredrik Barth), social fields of force (William Roseberry), and intercultural regimes (Fernando Galindo and Xavier Albó). In both empirical cases -Indigenous-controlled tourism and mining -communities are framing their ethnic identity to engage with, and positively reposition themselves in relation to the wider society. We hold that these endeavors must be comprehended as highly innovative, and that indigeneity and cultural boundaries can be strengthened bysocio-cultural changes toward livelihoods previously considered as “unauthentic” or “non-Indigenous”. We also argue that these new livelihood orientations have (purposely) altered gender relations within the communities in benefit of women. Additionally, our cases suggest that cultural strengthening and gender empowerment, among other positive outcomes, requires a nuanced apprehension of indigeneity as a partly floating concept and instrument gaining ground amid the increasing interconnectedness of ancienttraditions and capitalist modernity.

Abstract [es]

Este artículo aborda alteraciones de los modos de subsistencia en comunidades indígenas de la Amazonía ecuatoriana como medios de adaptación y resistencia a los impactos socioambientales provocados por la expansión del capitalismo global. Los casos comprenden esfuerzos indígenas colectivos en sectores típicamente capitalistas -turismo y minería -ilustrados por las experiencias del turismo comunitario Kichwa en Shiripuno en la Amazonía central, y la minería sostenible en la comunidad Shuar de Congüime (Kenkuim) en el sur amazónico. El objetivo esdesentrañar estas estrategias emergentes de subsistencia en relación con la identidad étnico-cultural. Metodológicamente, nos basamos en el trabajo comparativo y etnográfico en el campo con actores indígenas, y en un marco teórico anclado en los conceptosde innovadores, cambios de límites culturales (Fredrik Barth), campos sociales de fuerza (William Roseberry), y regímenes interculturales (Fernando Galindo y Xavier Albó). En ambos casos empíricos -el turismo y la minería controlados por los indígenas -las comunidades están enmarcando su identidad étnica para comprometerse y reposicionarse positivamente en relación con la sociedad más amplia. Sostenemos que estos esfuerzos deben ser comprendidos como altamente innovadores, y que la indigeneidad y las fronteras culturales pueden fortalecerse mediante cambios socioculturales hacia modos de subsistencia previamente considerados como "no auténticos" o "no indígenas". Asimismo, argumentamos que estas nuevas orientaciones de subsistencia han alterado (deliberadamente) las relaciones de género dentro de las comunidades en beneficio de las mujeres. Además, nuestros casos sugieren que el fortalecimiento cultural y el empoderamiento de género, entre otros resultados positivos, requieren una aprehensión matizada de la indigeneidad como un concepto e instrumento parcialmente flotante que gana terreno en medio de la creciente interconexión de las tradiciones ancestrales y la modernidad capitalista.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Warwick: University of Warwick Press , 2023. Vol. 10, no 1, p. 95-125
Keywords [en]
Commoditization of culture; Indigeneity; Community tourism; Sustainable mining; Kichwa Community of Shiripuno; Shuar Community of Kenkuim.
Keywords [es]
Comoditización de la cultura; indigeneidad; turismo comunitario; Minería sostenible; Comunidad Kichwa de Shiripuno; Comunidad Shuar de Kenkuim.
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Environmental Studies; Other research area; Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-52052DOI: 10.31273/an.v10i1.1319OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-52052DiVA, id: diva2:1787280
Projects
Realities of gold: Socio-environmental (in)justice, Indigenous resistance and rights-based alternatives in the Ecuadorian Amazon
Part of project
Indigenous Community-based eco-tourism and socio-environmental justice in the Global South: comparing “from below” experiences in Brazil, Ecuador and Mozambique, Swedish Research Council Formas
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2018-01232The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT), IB2018-7612Available from: 2023-08-11 Created: 2023-08-11 Last updated: 2023-09-12Bibliographically approved

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Lalander, RickardPorsani, Juliana

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