Rethinking the understanding of community: Latin American indigenous movements and their challenges to human development
Ana Estefanía Carballo
(University of Westminster)
Paper short abstract:
Shaking off the roots of mainstream understandings of development, ideas of Sumak Kawsay (SK) or Buen Vivir give us a framework to challenge notions central to development. This paper uses the SK philosophy to question the understanding of community in the human development paradigm.
Paper long abstract:
The Latin American 'Left turn' has brought up a multitude of socio-political changes that have been perceived as a 'post-liberal project' (Arditi, 2009), a quest for an 'alternative modernity' (Escobar, 2010) and a project of de-colonial thinking, confronting the 'Colonial Matrix of Power' (Mignolo, 2011) by exposing a geopolitics of knowledge historically benefiting the West. Shaking off the roots of mainstream understandings of development and liberal democracy, the emergence of these socio-political projects gives us a framework to challenge notions central to these discourses. This paper takes this opportunity, thus, to question the understanding of community in the mainstream understanding of development, the Human Development paradigm (HD). The indigenous movements of the Andes have put to the forefront a project of development that, this paper argues, poses particularly acute challenges to contemporary practices of development, as articulated in HD. The ideas of the Sumak Kawsay (SK) (and Buen Vivir), emerging from those movements, speak of an alternative vision of development, one that emphasizes the interdependence of individuals with their communities and the Earth. While in policy documents often ideas of SK have been linked to HD, this paper argues against the dominant interpretation that in fact, the ideas of SK expose the limitations of HD's understanding of development. In particular, they question its notion of community. By theoretically engaging HD discussions through Amartya Sen's capabilities approach, this paper offers the possibility to rethink the understanding of community and its centrality in the project of development.
On the shores of liberal democracy: exploring the reshaping of the community in the context of post-liberal governments in Latin America