Environmentalizing Indigeneity: A Comparative Ethnography on Multiculturalism, Ethnic Hierarchies, and Political Ecology in the Colombian Amazon

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/217111
Title:
Environmentalizing Indigeneity: A Comparative Ethnography on Multiculturalism, Ethnic Hierarchies, and Political Ecology in the Colombian Amazon
Author:
Del Cairo Silva, Carlos Luis
Issue Date:
2012
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This dissertation is aimed at analyzing how ethnic hierarchies question the environmentalization of indigeneity, which is the foundation of the Colombian state's multicultural policy. In particular, the dissertation develops a comparative ethnographic approach to the way in which the "multicultural turn" of 1991 impacted three indigenous communities located at San José del Guaviare, a colonization frontier in the Colombian Amazon: the Nükak, the Jiw and the Tucano. Against the assumption of multicultural policy that indigenous communities form a vast mass of people radically diferent from mainstream (even portrayed as anti-modern), in San José there is an unequal distribution of the Nükak, Jiw and Tucano in different positions inside local ethnic hierarchies. For some, Nükak incarnate what Hale (2004) label as a "good ethnicity", that serves to promote Guaviare as an eco-touristic destination, the Jiw are a "bad ethnicity" that annoys White people in San José, while the Tucano are portrayed as "civilized Indians". Thus, the dissertation states how these ethnic hierarchies contradict some of the core assumptions of multicultural policies that are based on an essentialized understanding of indigenous peoples as "ecologically noble savages." The dissertation argues that the analysis of contemporary experiences on indigeneity in an Amazonian context such as San José, could be better understood if it observes a set of processes and actors including: the historical transformation of senses on otherness, the production of forests as a field of domain under state regulations, the economic crossroads affecting indigenous peoples on their "resguardos" (indigenous lands) and the intervention of state laws, NGOs, indigenous political organizations, settlers, foreign governments and state officials. The analysis of such a variety of processes and actors shaping contemporary experiences on indigeneity in the Colombian Amazon follows the environmentality approach (Agrawal, 2005). From that perspective, I discuss the following ideas: a) indigenous resguardos were designed as governmentalized localities in multicultural policy to regulate and control how indigenous peoples manage natural resources; b) those communities portrayed as followers of the ecological nobility script act as regulatory communities; c) the technologies for governing the ecological realm do not necessarily assure the formation of environmental subjectivities.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Ethnic Hierarchies; Identity Politics; Indigenous Peoples; Political Ecology; Anthropology; Amazon; Colombia
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Anthropology
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Sheridan, Thomas E.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleEnvironmentalizing Indigeneity: A Comparative Ethnography on Multiculturalism, Ethnic Hierarchies, and Political Ecology in the Colombian Amazonen_US
dc.creatorDel Cairo Silva, Carlos Luisen_US
dc.contributor.authorDel Cairo Silva, Carlos Luisen_US
dc.date.issued2012-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation is aimed at analyzing how ethnic hierarchies question the environmentalization of indigeneity, which is the foundation of the Colombian state's multicultural policy. In particular, the dissertation develops a comparative ethnographic approach to the way in which the "multicultural turn" of 1991 impacted three indigenous communities located at San José del Guaviare, a colonization frontier in the Colombian Amazon: the Nükak, the Jiw and the Tucano. Against the assumption of multicultural policy that indigenous communities form a vast mass of people radically diferent from mainstream (even portrayed as anti-modern), in San José there is an unequal distribution of the Nükak, Jiw and Tucano in different positions inside local ethnic hierarchies. For some, Nükak incarnate what Hale (2004) label as a "good ethnicity", that serves to promote Guaviare as an eco-touristic destination, the Jiw are a "bad ethnicity" that annoys White people in San José, while the Tucano are portrayed as "civilized Indians". Thus, the dissertation states how these ethnic hierarchies contradict some of the core assumptions of multicultural policies that are based on an essentialized understanding of indigenous peoples as "ecologically noble savages." The dissertation argues that the analysis of contemporary experiences on indigeneity in an Amazonian context such as San José, could be better understood if it observes a set of processes and actors including: the historical transformation of senses on otherness, the production of forests as a field of domain under state regulations, the economic crossroads affecting indigenous peoples on their "resguardos" (indigenous lands) and the intervention of state laws, NGOs, indigenous political organizations, settlers, foreign governments and state officials. The analysis of such a variety of processes and actors shaping contemporary experiences on indigeneity in the Colombian Amazon follows the environmentality approach (Agrawal, 2005). From that perspective, I discuss the following ideas: a) indigenous resguardos were designed as governmentalized localities in multicultural policy to regulate and control how indigenous peoples manage natural resources; b) those communities portrayed as followers of the ecological nobility script act as regulatory communities; c) the technologies for governing the ecological realm do not necessarily assure the formation of environmental subjectivities.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectEthnic Hierarchiesen_US
dc.subjectIdentity Politicsen_US
dc.subjectIndigenous Peoplesen_US
dc.subjectPolitical Ecologyen_US
dc.subjectAnthropologyen_US
dc.subjectAmazonen_US
dc.subjectColombiaen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineAnthropologyen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorSheridan, Thomas E.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberAlonso, Ana Mariaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberVásquez-León, Marcelaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberPark, Thomas K.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberSheridan, Thomas E.en_US
All Items in UA Campus Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.