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Highland Indians and the State in Modern Ecuador

Highland Indians and the State in Modern Ecuador

A. Kim Clark
Marc Becker
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 360
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  • Book Info
    Highland Indians and the State in Modern Ecuador
    Book Description:

    Highland Indians and the State in Modern Ecuadorchronicles the changing forms of indigenous engagement with the Ecuadorian state since the early nineteenth century that, by the beginning of the twenty-first century, had facilitated the growth of the strongest unified indigenous movement in Latin America.Built around nine case studies from nineteenth- and twentieth-century Ecuador,Highland Indians and the State in Modern Ecuadorpresents state formation as an uneven process, characterized by tensions and contradictions, in which Indians and other subalterns actively participated. It examines how indigenous peoples have attempted, sometimes successfully, to claim control over state formation in order to improve their relative position in society. The book concludes with four comparative essays that place indigenous organizational strategies in highland Ecuador within a larger Latin American historical context.Highland Indians and the State in Modern Ecuadoroffers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of state formation that will be of interest to a broad range of scholars who study how subordinate groups participate in and contest state formation.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7116-0
    Subjects: History, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-xi)
  5. Political Map of Ecuador
    (pp. xii-xii)
  6. 1 Indigenous Peoples and State Formation in Modern Ecuador
    (pp. 1-21)

    The formal political system is in crisis in Ecuador: the twentieth century ended with a four-year period that saw six different governments. Indeed, between 1997 and 2005, four of nine presidents in Latin America who were removed through irregular procedures were in Ecuador.¹ Sociologist Leon Zamosc calls Ecuador “one of the most, if notthemost, unstable country in Latin America.”² At the same time, the Ecuadorian Indian movement made important gains in the last decade of the twentieth century, and for at least some sectors of society, at the turn of the twenty-first century had more prestige than traditional...

  7. 2 ¿Indígena o Ciudadano? Republican Laws and Highland Indian Communities in Ecuador, 1820–1857
    (pp. 22-36)

    The history of early nineteenth-century Ecuador, between independence in the 1820s and the abolition of Indian tribute in 1857, proves that state formation is not simply a project of moral regulation in which elites attempt to impose on subaltern groups a dominant discourse that defines their role in society. Indigenous communities and other groups selected and appropriated those aspects of state legislation and state ideology that coincided with their interests and their vision of society. State and indigenous discourse in early nineteenth-century Ecuador reveals multiple discursive frameworks that operated simultaneously. A focus on the different coexisting discourses and imaginations about...

  8. 3 Administering the Otavalan Indian and Centralizing Governance in Ecuador, 1851–1875
    (pp. 37-55)

    The year 1859 brought to a close the era of popular liberalism under President José María Urvina (1851–1858) and ushered in a new period of conservative-Catholic rule under Gabriel García Moreno (1860–1865, 1869–1875). When Urvina went into exile a year later, his ventures in anticlericalism and antilandlordism were banished as well, not to return to national politics until the 1890s.¹ Replacing the central government’s tenuous alliance with coastal elites and popular sectors was a political pact that García Moreno built with landlords and clergy, one that positioned ultramontane Catholicism as the basis for nationalism. During the 1859...

  9. 4 Helpless Children or Undeserving Patriarchs? Gender Ideologies, the State, and Indian Men in Late Nineteenth-Century Ecuador
    (pp. 56-71)

    Ideas about gender disguised deepening racial inequalities in late nineteenth-century Ecuadorian politics and society, assisting the state in its “triumph of concealment” at a time when the central government refused to recognize its own role in racial oppression.¹ As Philip Corrigan and Derek Sayer contend, patriarchy is a critical means through which state power is exercised, and therefore any moral conscience emanating from the state “is always that of the dominant class, gender, race, delineating and idealizing its conditions of rule.”² In late nineteenth-century Ecuador, the state manipulated particular gender ideas to reflect and defend its paradoxical relations with Indians....

  10. 5 Liberalism, Indigenismo, and Social Mobilization in Late Nineteenth-Century Ecuador
    (pp. 72-88)

    The Indianlevantamiento(uprising) of 1994 provides an excellent point of departure for analyzing the origins of present-day indigenous movements in Ecuador.¹ Beginning in the 1950s, social movements and NGOs created a breeding ground for the emergence of organizations composed of indigenous peoples, directed by their own leaders. Indian intellectuals appropriated social and political discourses from the national and international arena and used them as the groundwork for a movement that no longer spoke for the Indians, but spoke through the voice of the indigenous population itself. We still have to see how profound this transformation will be, but an...

  11. 6 Shifting Paternalisms in Indian-State Relations, 1895–1950
    (pp. 89-104)

    Relations between Indians and the state in highland Ecuador exhibit a multiplicity of sites of domination in what we often homogenize as “the state.” When Indians offered deference to certain state officials, it was often as part of an explicit rejection of other officials from whom they withdrew such deference. Thus, attitudes of deference were not inherent to Indians or a simple product of domination, but were part of a set of political strategies that could sometimes be quite effective.

    According to E. P. Thompson’s analysis of paternalism and deference, plebs defer to the gentry only when the latter fulfill...

  12. 7 State Building and Ethnic Discourse in Ecuadorʹs 1944–1945 Asamblea Constituyente 7
    (pp. 105-119)

    On May 28, 1944, Indigenous peoples joined a coalition of workers, peasants, students, and lower-ranking military personnel in the Glorious May Revolution that overthrew the increasingly unpopular presidency of Carlos Arroyo del Río.¹ Masses of people flooded the streets to demand deep-seated reforms that would address their grievances. It was a time of euphoric optimism that seemed to signal the emergence of new social relations and the end of exclusionary state structures. Ecuador, one author observed, finally “was in the hands of its legitimate owners.”²

    This rupture in the liberal elites’ domination over state structures led to an explosion of...

  13. 8 Indigenous Communities, Landlords, and the State: Land and Labor in Highland Ecuador,1950–1975
    (pp. 120-138)

    The relationship between indigenous peoples and the Ecuadorian state has evolved and grown, as shown by the extraordinary development of provincial, regional, and national indigenous organizations. The impact of this process can be gauged by the astonishing sequence of mobilizations in the 1990s and enhanced political sophistication of indigenous groups and their allies, especially with respect to demands for land, political participation, and ethnic identity.¹ However, as the indigenous leader Luis Macas suggests, today’s indigenous movement in Ecuador grew out of processes that date back centuries.² It was preceded by the emergence of the community as an actor and protagonist...

  14. 9 Contesting Membership: Citizenship, Pluriculturalism(s), and the Contemporary Indigenous Movement
    (pp. 139-154)

    In the post-1979 period, indigenous responses to Ecuador’s pluricultural politics, embodied in literacy and bilingual education programs, led to a new political discourse and to a distinct form of citizenship that is both similar to and different from previous modes of citizenship. Indians either occupied a separate legal category, or relied on informal protections once the legal distinctions between themselves and non-Indians disappeared. Indigenous peoples in today’s Ecuador rely on their distinction from non-Indians as a route to empowerment; however, they also depart from earlier patterns because they openly contest exclusionary state discourses and practices and propose a new model...

  15. 10 Sons of Indians and Indian Sons: Military Service, Familial Metaphors, and Multicultural Nationalism
    (pp. 155-178)

    Indians in contemporary Ecuador are involved in the continual process of state formation through obligatory military service or conscription. Military service is mandatory for all male citizens and permanent residents eighteen years of age and over, according to Article 188 of the 1998 constitution. Unlike the situation in other parts of Latin America, where young men are recruited for military service through coercive techniques known as “club and rope,” many conscripts in Ecuador are eager to complete their service.¹ Ecuador’s armed forces use a carrot-and-stick approach that combines a slick marketing campaign to promote conscription to the masses with mild...

  16. 11 Same State, Different Histories, Diverse Strategies: The Ecuadorian Amazon
    (pp. 179-195)

    Even though they share the same country, indigenous groups in Ecuador’s Amazon region have experienced a very different relationship to the state than have highland groups. Until the mid-twentieth century, interactions with both the colonial government and the Ecuadorian state were more intermittent in the Amazon than in the highlands. They were more directly related to boom and bust periods for the region’s natural resources—particularly gold, cinchona bark, and rubber—than to changes in state administration.¹ In general, religious missions were a more visible and important local governing force than the state.

    Jesuit missionaries in particular devised methods of...

  17. 12 From Indigenismo to Indigenous Movements in Ecuador and Mexico
    (pp. 196-208)

    Although Mexico has the largest number of indigenous peoples in the Americas, Indian organizations in Mexico have not come together to form a strong national-level Indian movement. Even after the emergence of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN, Zapatista Army of National Liberation) on January 1, 1994, in the southern state of Chiapas, a national Indian movement has not been consolidated.¹ The Mexican case stands in marked contrast to that of Ecuador, where, during the 1990s, the Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (CONAIE, Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador) successfully united highland and lowland, local and regional Indian...

  18. 13 Barricades and Articulations: Comparing Ecuadorian and Bolivian Indigenous Politics
    (pp. 209-233)

    Ecuador’s history gives it an important place in the study of indigenous politics. The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) in particular has received special attention for the remarkable accomplishment of achieving a national and panethnic confederation that includes indigenous organizations from Ecuador’s coastal, Andean, and Amazonian regions. In a remarkably short time, indigenous people have gone from political invisibility to becoming among the most important political actors, and biggest obstacles to neoliberal presidents, in the country.¹

    Of course, the “peculiarity” of Ecuador, to borrow E. P. Thompson’s term, can only be appreciated in comparison to indigenous politics elsewhere....

  19. 14 In the Shadows of Success: Indigenous Politics in Peru and Ecuador
    (pp. 234-248)

    Indigenous movements in Ecuador and Peru represent different poles and even types of cases. If Ecuador is the paradigmatic successful case of powerful and unified indigenous mobilization, Peru represents a puzzling negative case of absence. In the regional and indeed global trend of growing Indian mobilization, the indigenous movement in Peru has been widely described as “marginal,”¹ “largely non-existent,”² and “a profound failure.”³ Unlike the powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), scholars point out that Peru, the heart of the Inca Empire and a country where roughly 40 percent of the population is indigenous, has no representative national...

  20. Bibliographic Essay
    (pp. 249-260)

    Ecuador, as a small country on South America’s Pacific coast, often receives little attention in broader works on Latin America. For example, not a single chapter in the landmark volume,Resistance, Rebellion, and Consciousness in the Andean Peasant World: 18th to 20th Centuries, ed. Steve J. Stern (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987) is dedicated to Ecuador. Likewise,The Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the Americas, ed. Frank Salomon and Stuart B. Schwartz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999) devotes relatively little attention to Ecuador. In bibliographic essays on the Andes in that volume, Brooke Larson notes that Ecuador’s...

  21. Notes
    (pp. 261-304)
  22. Bibliography
    (pp. 305-334)
  23. List of Contributors
    (pp. 335-338)
  24. Index
    (pp. 339-348)