Based on reflective practice over 15 years in Ecuador, the authors examine the perpetuation of knowingly harmful public policy in highly toxic pesticides. They study how actors cooperate, collude, and collide in advancing certain technological agenda, even when against public interests. Ultimately, entrenchment of perspective opened up space for arrival of new social actors and competing activity and transition. In light of struggles for sustainability, the authors find neglected policy opportunities in the heterogeneity of peoples' daily practices and countermovements, leading to a call for further attention to the inherently incoherent, complex, and irresolvable human face of sociotechnical change.
Stephen G. Sherwood and Myriam Paredes
The (Re)Configuration of a Transit Country
Soledad Álvarez Velasco
Ecuador has a complex history with respect to the movement of people across its borders. For at least the past five decades, irregularized Ecuadoreans have been emigrating abroad, mainly to the United States of America (henceforth US). 1 Likewise
Studying abroad can be a life-altering experience, but not necessarily. I credit the two study-abroad experiences I had as an undergraduate as setting my course as an anthropologist. At this stage in my career, having directed, taught and evaluated five study-abroad programmes in three different countries, I felt ready to create my own based on the pros and cons I had observed. In December 2013, I completed a pilot run of a binational learning community focused on food, culture and social justice in Ecuador and Oregon and would like to share the experience in order to encourage other higher education teachers to invent similar programmes. It is not an easy model to pull off, especially in a large state institution, but it achieved the kind of coherence that I have found lacking in other study-abroad programmes and was a very satisfying teaching/learning experience. I will outline some issues concerning study-abroad programmes and then describe
the programme I was involved in implementing in 2013.
On prison securitization and its zones of legal silence
When a state of emergency in Ecuador's prison system was declared in 2007, municipal leaders in Guayaquil built the country's first “supermax” prison, La Roca, for the administrative segregation of inmates considered a security threat. I suggest that administrative curtailment of access to these so-called “worst of the worst” prisoners merits legal comparisons with the juridical status of detainees in US “black site” facilities, the inter-American drug wars now paralleling the global war on terror insofar as prisoners' rights are concerned. Contrasting my brief visit to La Roca with political-economic and media analysis, my article draws two conclusions: (1) that limited physical access to prisoners, stimulated by administrative “zones of legal silence”, demands an ethnographic focus on daily conditions of prison life using inconsistencies in administrative rhetoric; and (2) that measures to securitize the prison system have augmented prison directors' powers to coerce inmates and to confound understandings of their living conditions.
The Ecuadorian indigenous movement emerged just as the binaries that once defined the Indian/white boundary became acknowledged internal polarities of indigenous society. In this article, I argue that these divergences energized indigenous communities, which built material infrastructure, social networks, and political capital across widening gaps in values and incomes. They managed this task through a kind of vernacular statecraft, making the most of list making, council formation, and boundary drawing. As the movement shifts into electoral politics, the same community politics that launched it now challenges the national organization. As they work to define a coherent national program, the principal organizations of the national movement must reproduce the local contacts and relations among communities that made Ecuador's indigenous pluriculturalism such a potent presence in the 1990s.
Anti-Mining Struggles, the State, and Constitutional Lawsuits in Ecuador
Special Issue show that this shift certainly occurs. But so does its reverse, as ongoing legal struggles against industrial mining in Ecuador indicate. There, ‘anti-mining activists’ – a term I discuss in more detail below – have started to increasingly
Weaponization of the RICO Act across jurisdictional borders
Lindsay Ofrias and Gordon Roecker
ever take place (Beristain et al. 2009; Kimerling 1993 ; Sawyer 2006 ; Yanza 2014 ). Two decades later, Ecuador's highest court found Chevron Corporation was indeed liable for billions of dollars of environmental damages, but the tables turned almost
Julia Eckert and Laura Knöpfel
economy? The contributions to this issue cover various jurisdictions, including Italy, England, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, and, more importantly, they are concerned with different legal fields and moments in time at which law becomes relevant to
community activists and human rights lawyers in Ecuador, that corporations have responsibilities to their neighbours. In all four cases, these relationships are framed in terms of legal rights and obligations. In the first case, not only were the workers in
Tristan Platt and Andrés Guerrero
Interviewed and translated by Tristan Platt
TP: Andrés, you have recently published a book which has provoked considerable interest, and which presents the results of your reflections over several years on the history and anthropology of Ecuador. Let me start by asking you what led you to these two disciplines, and how you think the combination has led you to understand better an Andean and Latin-American society such as Ecuador?