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An ecology of difference

Equality and conflict in a glocalized world

Arturo Escobar

This paper develops a broad conceptualization of what could be called a political ecology of difference. The paper builds on trends in political ecology, the politics of place, and cultural analyses of modern conceptions of nature, rights, and the individual to outline an integrated framework for thinking about difference from the perspective of economic, ecological, and cultural distribution conflicts. The argument is illustrated with a case study from the Pacific rainforest region of Colombia, particularly the political ecology developed by the region’s social movement of black communities; the paper concludes with implications of the framework for thinking about the cultural politics of dominant institutions and their potential transformation along the lines of a politics of difference.

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Arturo Escobar

Five or ten years from now, the performance of the allegedly leftist regimes in Latin America (particularly those of Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia and, to varying degrees, those of Argentina, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Chile, Uruguay, and Brazil) will be assessed in terms of the extent to which they were able to bring about a reduction of poverty, sustained rates of growth, and a measure of democratization in their countries, including less inequality and more inclusive policies, particularly toward ethnic minorities.

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Is Escobar's Territories of Difference Good Political Ecology?

On Anthropological Engagements with Environmental Social Movements

Ståle Knudsen and Arturo Escobar

Arturo Escobar, Territories of Difference: Place, Movements, Life, Redes (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008), 465 pp. ISBN 9780822343448.