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Development as Buen Vivir: Institutional arrangements and (de)colonial entanglements

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Catherine Walsh looks at how we can understand the emergence in the Andes Region and Ecuador of buen vivir, living well or collective well being, as the guiding principle for a new regimen of development. She asks if this really is a shift to new social and sustainable forms of development and what the experiment in the Andes suggests for today's rethinking of development institutions.

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  1. My interest as such is not with a critique of the authors associated with this new paradigm or their work, but rather with the paradigm's interpretation and application.


  3. Functional interculturality can be understood as part of an institutional strategy that seeks to promote dialogue, tolerance, coexistence, and inclusion without necessarily addressing the causes of inequality; it makes diversity ‘functional’ to the system (Tubino, 2005). This contrasts with what I have referred to as ‘critical interculturality’, which initiates with a profound questioning of this system and seeks its major transformation in social, political, epistemic, and existential terms. That is, a new ordering of structures, institutions, and relations (Walsh, 2002, 2009).


  5. It is also a central component of the Bolivian Constitution, passed in popular referendum in January 2009.

  6. See

  7. See

  8. See Escobar (2009) for a similar critique.


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Looks at how collective well-being, is emerging as a guiding principle for a new regimen of development

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Walsh, C. Development as Buen Vivir: Institutional arrangements and (de)colonial entanglements. Development 53, 15–21 (2010).

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