In the Way of Development: Indigenous Peoples, Life Projects, and Globalization

In the Way of Development: Indigenous Peoples, Life Projects, and Globalization

In the Way of Development: Indigenous Peoples, Life Projects, and Globalization

In the Way of Development: Indigenous Peoples, Life Projects, and Globalization

Synopsis

Authored as a result of a remarkable collaboration between indigenous people's own leaders, other social activists and scholars from a wide range of disciplines, this volume explores what is happening today to indigenous peoples as they are enmeshed, almost inevitably, in the remorseless expansion of the modern economy and development, at the behest of the pressures of the market-place and government. It is particularly timely, given the rise in criticism of free market capitalism generally, as well as of development. The volume seeks to capture the complex, power-laden, often contradictory features of indigenous agency and relationships. It shows how peoples do not just resist or react to the pressures of market and state, but also initiate and sustain "life projects" of their own which embody local history and incorporate plans to improve their social and economic ways of living.

Excerpt

Mario Blaser, Harvey A. Feit and Glenn McRae

In the last three decades Indigenous peoples’ struggles to keep control of their lives and lands have moved from being of concern only to themselves, and some specialists and specialized bureaucracies, to being issues of wide public awareness and debate in many sectors of society. Indigenous peoples’ struggles are now carried on within complex transnational networks and alliances that traverse the boundaries between the state, markets and civil society, including the environmentalist and human rights movements. International forums such as the United Nations have become important sites in these networks, but major transnational organizations like the un and the World Bank must themselves now have policies in place and access to expertise on Indigenous peoples in order to carry out many of their projects. Nearly every time the constitution of a nation-state is rewritten today, a major debate develops about how to include some form of recognition of Indigenous rights. Transnational corporations have to grapple with laws, norms and regulations that complicate their operations when these affect Indigenous peoples. These examples are but a few indications of the dramatically transformed terrains in which Indigenous peoples carry on their lives and their struggles today. Much has changed. But much has not changed.

This book provides the reader with a diverse series of analyses, strategic assessments, examples and reflections on Indigenous peoples’ agency and struggles in the face of development projects carried out on these changing terrains. Many of the changes in the arenas in which Indigenous peoples carry on their struggles have been reshaped in these last decades by the initiatives of Indigenous peoples themselves. But much of the terrain has also been dramatically reshaped by others, through the changing roles of the nation-state and of NGOs, the growing importance of transnational corporations and global flows of capital, the expansion of media networks, and the . . .

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