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  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2019

Indigenous Life Projects and Extractivism

Ethnographies from South America

Palgrave Macmillan
  • 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)

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (10 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxv
  2. Introduction: Indigenous Peoples, Extractivism, and Turbulences in South America

    • Juan Javier Rivera Andía, Cecilie Vindal Ødegaard
    Pages 1-50Open Access
  3. Indigeneity, Activism, and the Politics of Nature

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 217-217
    2. Stories of Resistance: Translating Nature, Indigeneity, and Place in Mining Activism

      • Fabiana Li, Adriana Paola Paredes Peñafiel
      Pages 219-243Open Access
    3. Performing Indigeneity in Bolivia: The Struggle Over the TIPNIS

      • Nicole Fabricant, Nancy Postero
      Pages 245-276Open Access
  4. Back Matter

    Pages 277-282

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?


  • Indigenous
  • extractivism
  • South America
  • extractive industries
  • poverty-reduction
  • marginalization
  • inequality
  • environmental damage
  • ecological devastation
  • mining
  • energy extractive
  • indigenous world-making
  • indigenous life-making
  • politics of nature
  • commodification
  • privatization
  • latin america
  • ethnology
  • indigeneities
  • open access


“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.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)