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Palgrave Macmillan

Indigenous Life Projects and Extractivism

Ethnographies from South America

  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2019

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  • Addresses how the recent resource extraction boom in South America has collided with indigenous world-making projects
  • Covers an unusually broad geographical scope, with ethnographic research presented from a wide range of South American countries
  • Takes an interdisciplinary approach to a complex issue and will consequently hold value for scholars across a range of fields including anthropology, sociology, political science, geology, and economics

Part of the book series: Approaches to Social Inequality and Difference (ATSIAD)

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About this book

Exploring indigenous life projects in encounters with extractivism, the present open access volume discusses how current turbulences actualise questions of indigeneity, difference and ontological dynamics in the Andes and Amazonia. While studies of extractivism in South America often focus on wider national and international politics, this contribution instead provides ethnographic explorations of indigenous politics, perspectives and worlds, revealing loss and suffering as well as creative strategies to mediate the extralocal. Seeking to avoid conceptual imperialism or the imposition of exogenous categories, the chapters are grounded in the respective authors’ long-standing field research. The authors examine the reactions (from resistance to accommodation), consequences (from anticipation to rubble) and materials (from fossil fuel to water) diversely related to extractivism in rural and urban settings. How can Amerindian strategies to preserve localised communities in extractivist contexts contribute to ways of thinking otherwise?

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Table of contents (10 chapters)

  1. Indigeneity, Activism, and the Politics of Nature


“The volume … is one of the latest works within the growing body of literature on extractivism and indigeneity in the region. Clearly written and yet rich in always surprising ethnographic material, this volume is essential reading for scholars and students interested in both Amerindian anthropology and political ecology in general.” (Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 93 (2), 2020)

“With the 2000s commodities boom, Americas’ Indigenous peoples faced the renewed threats of an old enemy: extractivism. For reasons that this book tries to understand, the forces resisting this boom, whether indigenous and non-indigenous, gathered around distinctive conceptualizations of the environment, opening a door to the expression of alternative ontologies and cosmopolitics. Through ethnographic studies both in Amazonia and the Andes, the book vividly discusses the conundrums of these times from the perspective of indigenous peoples. Indispensable reading.” (Carlos Fausto, Professor of Anthropology, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

“Clashes between extractivist designs and Indigenous life projects are as old as the European invasion.  But, under the shadow of the Anthropocene, these clashes both further erode the commonsensical notion that non-humans are simply resources, and reveal the plausibility of worlds constituted otherwise. This superb collection of ethnographies constitutes essential reading to grasp the practical, analytical and ultimately political consequences of life projects that presuppose worlds populated by human and non-human persons, rather than by humans and resources.” (Mario Blaser, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada)

Editors and Affiliations

  • University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

    Cecilie Vindal Ødegaard

  • Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

    Juan Javier Rivera Andía

About the editors

Cecilie Vindal Ødegaard is Associate Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Bergen, Norway.

Juan Javier Rivera Andía is Research Fellow at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Spain.

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