Indigeneity, Nature and Livelihoods: the Tensions of Vivir Bien in Lowland Bolivia
October 23, 2013
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
601 S. Morgan Street, Chicago, Illinois
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The constitutionalization of Vivir Bien (roughly translated as “to live well”) in 2009 demonstrated Bolivia’s commitment to its 36 indigenous groups, an end to neo-liberal economic policies, and a respect for the country’s vast natural resources. However, contradictions and conflicts emerging from policies related to Vivir Bien demonstrate how local needs and desires conflict with national development agendas, particularly related to the uses of forested areas. Harnessing the concept of Vivir Bien, Tsimané Indians of the Amazonian lowlands are increasingly taking part in logging activities as a way to take back control of their forest and reduce the presence of migrant highlanders who historically have controlled the extraction of illegal timber from within the Tsimané’s protected area. This presentation will review the concept of Vivir Bien and then, using an example of the Tsimané, will demonstrate how localized experiences reframe what it might mean to “live well” among different groups.
Ariela Zycherman is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for the Humanities at UIC as part of the chancellor’s food studies initiative. Ariela’s work looks at the relationships between food and work in changing environments and she has carried out research on this topic in Bolivia, Argentina, Mexico and Brooklyn, NY. She earned her PhD in Applied Anthropology from Columbia University in 2013.
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