Indigenous Development in the Andes

Culture, Power, and Transnationalism

Indigenous Development in the Andes

Book Pages: 360 Illustrations: 4 tables, 12 maps Published: December 2009

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Geography, Latin American Studies > Andes

As indigenous peoples in Latin America have achieved greater prominence and power, international agencies have attempted to incorporate the agendas of indigenous movements into development policymaking and project implementation. Transnational networks and policies centered on ethnically aware development paradigms have emerged with the goal of supporting indigenous cultures while enabling indigenous peoples to access the ostensible benefits of economic globalization and institutionalized participation. Focused on Bolivia and Ecuador, Indigenous Development in the Andes is a nuanced examination of the complexities involved in designing and executing “culturally appropriate” development agendas. Robert Andolina, Nina Laurie, and Sarah A. Radcliffe illuminate a web of relations among indigenous villagers, social movement leaders, government officials, NGO workers, and staff of multilateral agencies such as the World Bank.

The authors argue that this reconfiguration of development policy and practice permits Ecuadorian and Bolivian indigenous groups to renegotiate their relationship to development as subjects who contribute and participate. Yet it also recasts indigenous peoples and their cultures as objects of intervention and largely fails to address fundamental concerns of indigenous movements, including racism, national inequalities, and international dependencies. Andean indigenous peoples are less marginalized, but they face ongoing dilemmas of identity and agency as their fields of action cross national boundaries and overlap with powerful institutions. Focusing on the encounters of indigenous peoples with international development as they negotiate issues related to land, water, professionalization, and gender, Indigenous Development in the Andes offers a comprehensive analysis of the diverse consequences of neoliberal development, and it underscores crucial questions about globalization, governance, cultural identity, and social movements.


Indigenous Development in the Andes is a hopeful and timely book. It provides important insights about the power and potential of transnationalism for indigenous development; of the tremendous agency of indigenous peoples; and the openings for governments and the international development community to learn new ways of effectively engaging indigenous populations. Readers will find these insights applicable for thinking through the challenges of how to continue to improve indigenous development outcomes in Latin America, as well in other developing nations, continents and regions.”
— Michelle Carnegie, Progress in Development Studies

Indigenous Development in the Andes is of undeniable importance to scholars who focus on the Andean region or Indigenous Studies in general. . . . [An] engaging, well-designed, and groundbreaking study that will influence how academics and policy makers think about these issues for years to come.” — Paul Worley, The Latin Americanist

Indigenous Development in the Andes is an important book for those interested in native movements, the transformation of rural societies, and contemporary development practice. The authors are at their best pursuing professional linkages among indigenous activists, development specialists, and state actors. As Andean peoples work to overcome the racism of the region, defend their economic security, and live according to the ideals of their diverse communities, they build and restrict relations with powerful institutions. Andolina, Laurie, and Radcliffe lay out in an innovative way to understand the conditions, possibilities, and costs of such connections.” — Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld, Anthropos

“Most predominant in the book as a whole is its emphasis on scale and place. Thus, geographers will be its most natural audience, though other disciplines also may benefit from thinking through transnational relationships through a geographer’s lens. . . . The authors’ method of multisited ethnography allows them to map a huge array of discursive debates that cross local and national boundaries. . . . [T]his book certainly advances our understanding of the complexities behind the transnational production of ‘ethno-development’ policies today.” — Christina Ewig, Comparative Political Studies

“Moving seamlessly back and forth between examples from Bolivia and Ecuador, the authors ask how ethnic practices change development policies, and how multiethnic transnationalism emerges and sustains itself. . . . Recommended.” — M. Becker, Choice

"A kaleidoscope of rural development projects in highland regions in Ecuador and Bolivia that became vital sites of local/global interactionbetween indigenous groups and the sponsors and funders of those projects."  — Brooke Larson, Latin American Research Review

“This is an important book that all social scientists working in the Andes and Amazonia will want to own, read, and re-read for the complex and nuanced arguments that the authors make. Robert Andolina, Nina Laurie and Sarah A. Radcliffe do a wonderful job of tacking between the everyday of indigenous political practice and the arguments about culture, identity, and development that go on inside development agencies. They explore both the spaces opened, and those closed down, by ethnically-aware approaches to development, and in doing so give a reading of neoliberalism in practice that is among the most careful and ethnographically insightful yet published. This is a book that is at once conceptually brave and empirically grounded and has manifold implications for how to think about development—not just in the Andes, but way beyond.” — Anthony Bebbington, University of Manchester


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Robert Andolina is Assistant Professor of International Studies at Seattle University.

Nina Laurie is Professor of Development and Environment in the School of Geography, Politics, and Sociology at Newcastle University. She is an author of Geographies of New Femininities.

Sarah A. Radcliffe is Reader in Latin American Geography at the University of Cambridge. She is the editor of the journal Progress in Human Geography and an editor of several collections, including Culture and Development in a Globalizing World.

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Maps and Tables vii

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Indigenous Development in the Andes 1

1. Development, Transnational Networks, and Indigenous Politics 23

2. Development-with-Identity: Social Capital and Andean Culture 53

3. Development in Place: Ethnic Culture in the Transnational Local 80

4. Neoliberalisms, Transnational Water Politics, and Indigenous People 125

5. Transnational Professionalization of Indigenous Actors and Knowledge 157

6. Gender, Transnationalism, and Cultures of Development 195

Conclusion: Transnationalism, Development, and Culture in Theory and Practice 223

Appendix 1: Methodology and Research Design 247

Appendix 2: Development-Agency Initiatives for Andean Indigenous
Peoples, 1990–2002 249

Appendix 3: Professional Biographies of Teachers in Interculturalism 253

Acronyms and Abbreviations 257

Notes 263

Bibliography 297

Index 335
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4540-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4523-7
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