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Mobilizing for the petro-nation

Labor and petroleum in Ecuador

Gabriela Valdivia and Marcela Benavides

This article analyzes the struggles of the petroleum labor movement against the neo-liberalization of the petroleum industry in Ecuador. Though originally focused on defending collective bargaining rights, since the 1990s the movement has put forward a populist, nationalist critique of the state's governance of petroleum. The article traces the roots of the movement and focuses on two contested terrains of petroleum politics, refineries and oilfields, to examine labor's role in resource governance. The article argues that by strategically joining concerns over class and nation, over a number of administrations from the 1970s to the 2000s (from populist, military juntas, to neoliberal), the petroleum labor movement became a defining actor in petroleum governance.

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Ecuador's “black site”

On prison securitization and its zones of legal silence

Chris Garces

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.

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Stephen G. Sherwood and Myriam Paredes

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.

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“Living Well Rather Than Living Better”

Measuring Biocentric Human-Nature Rights and Human–Nature Development in Ecuador

Johannes M. Waldmüller

Drawing on the first attempt worldwide to implement human rights indicators at the national level in Ecuador (2009–2014), as well as on a critical review of the uneasy relationship between human rights and human development discourses, this article calls into question the prefix “human” in contemporary human development and human rights thinking. By alternating case study and reflection, it argues that a systemic and biocentric focus on human–nature relationships, extending the concepts of capabilities and functionings to ecosystems and human–nature interactions, is important for designing adequate tools for human–nature development, monitoring and for moving beyond ascribing merely instrumental value to nature. In order to shift the common understanding of human rights and human development from anthropocentric frameworks toward a more realistic biocentric focus, a focus on life as such is proposed, including inherent moments of arising and passing that express the necessary limitations to all human conduct and striving.

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Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld

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.

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Migrantes y vida pública en Cuba

Estrategias transnacionales de ciudadanos cubanos residentes en Ecuador

Liudmila Morales Alfonso and Liosday Landaburo Sánchez

*Full article is in Spanish

English abstract: The article analyzes how the participation of migrants in Cuban public life has been reconfigured, starting with the process of updating the economic, political and social model that began in 2008. This group, which had been excluded from national public life through an intersection of official policies and discourses—which supported the viewpoint of migration without return, due to political causes, and an “us vs. them” opposition—now benefits from a Cuba that is more open to the world and consistent with transnational migration. Although the road to full citizenship continues to be full of obstacles, there are new opportunities for participation in public life, which the article measures from the integration of Cubans residing in Ecuador in the formal and informal economies to their maintenance of a migratory status in Cuba and the flow of information and communication with their native country.

Spanish abstract: El artículo analiza cómo se reconfigura la participación de los migrantes en la vida pública cubana, a partir del proceso de actualización del modelo económico, político y social que inició en 2008. Este grupo, que había sido excluido de la vida pública nacional por una conjunción entre políticas y discursos oficiales —que sustentó el imaginario de una migración sin retorno, por causas políticas, y de una oposición nosotros/ellos— se beneficia de una Cuba más abierta al mundo y consecuente con la migración transnacional. Aunque el camino hacia una ciudadanía plena continúe lleno de obstáculos, existen nuevas oportunidades de participación en la vida pública, que el artículo mide desde la inserción de cubanos residentes en Ecuador en la economía, formal e informal; el mantenimiento de un status migratorio en Cuba y el flujo de información y comunicación con su país natal.

French abstract: L’article analyse la façon dont la participation des migrants à la vie publique cubaine est reconfigurée, en commençant par la mise à jour du modèle économique, politique et social qui a débuté en 2008. Ce groupe, exclu de la vie publique nationale conjointement par les politiques et discours officiels - qui ont soutenu l’imaginaire d’une migration sans retour, en raison de causes politiques et d’une opposition nous / eux - bénéficie d’un Cuba plus ouvert au monde et compatible avec les migrations transnationales. Et bien que le chemin vers la pleine citoyenneté continue d’être semé d’obstacles, il existe de nouvelles possibilités de participation à la vie publique que l’article met en évidence, depuis l’insertion des Cubains résidant en Équateur dans l’économie, formelle et informelle ; le maintien d’un statut migratoire à Cuba et le flux d’informations et de communication avec leur pays natal.

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Echoes arising from two cases of the private administration of populations

African immigrants in twentieth-century Spain and Indians in nineteenth-century Ecuador

Andrés Guerrero

The article simultaneously explores three lines of reflection and analysis woven around the comparative reverberations (in space and time) between citizenship and the administration of populations (states of exception) in the Republic of Ecuador during the nineteenth century and the Kingdom of Spain in the twenty century. The first thread tries to answer the question whether it is possible for concepts generated in a country of the Global South to be used usefully in analyzing a different Northern reality, inverting the usual direction in the flows of transfer and importation of “theory.“ The second theme of comparative reverberation explores a network of concepts concerning the citizenship of common sense and the administration of populations, that is the “back-patio“ aspect of citizenship, particularly its historical formation in the domination of populations in the Republic of Ecuador during the nineteenth century. It is centered on the process of identification in the daily exchanges between interpares citizens and extrapares non-citizens. The last section involves testing concepts forged in the author's studies of Ecuadorian history for their utility in analyzing the current situation of modern sub-Saharan immigrants in Spain (using concrete examples), and their reclusion to the private sphere in spaces of exception and abandonment. Here, the article concentrates on the difference between the public administration of populations and the private administration of citizens. The article uses documentary material relating to nineteenth-century Ecuador and twentieth-century Spain and Senegal.

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Empire/Multitude—State/Civil Society

Rethinking Topographies of Power Through Transnational Connectivity in Ecuador and Beyond

Suzana Sawyer

This article uses a lawsuit against Chevron as a means to examine the complex, compromised, and incomplete practices that form what can be described as Empire/Multitude and state/civil society. The class-action suit, filed on behalf of 30,000 Ecuadorian citizens, encapsulates processes of globalization and their attendant consequences. I argue that the binaries Empire/Multitude and state/civil society assume a physiology of coherence and topography of power that obscure their deeply transnational nature. Systematically exploring the networks of connectivity that produce and transform these dyads allows for a refiguring of indigenous peoples within the political realm. Rather than outside or below, subaltern subjects (indigenous and non-indigenous alike) are co-existing political embodiments that can shape the sphere of authority and legitimacy that make up the state and the practices of Empire.

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La política migratoria de Ecuador hacia Colombia

Entre la integración y la “contención“

Marcela Ceballos Medina

*Full article is in Spanish

English abstract: This article examines Ecuadoran policy toward the forced migration of Colombians to Ecuador. It identifies the main changes in Ecuadoran immigration policy, including asylum, for the period 1996-2008. To do this, the author examines two dimensions of immigration policy: the normative framework and political practices (implementation of the normative framework). The article tries to answer the following questions: What are the main changes in Ecuadoran immigration policy toward Colombian forced migration? How can we explain those changes? The author suggests that the policy oscillates between regional or binational integration and border contention. The variables that explain those changes are: (1) the magnitude of Colombian migration; (2) the transnational dynamics of the internal armed conflict along the Colombia-Ecuador border and the political context in Ecuador; and (3) the international relations of Colombia and Ecuador and the political agenda of the South American region.

Spanish abstract: El propósito del artículo es examinar la respuesta del Estado ecuatoriano a las migraciones forzadas de colombianos hacia ese país, identificando los principales cambios en la política de inmigración (incluida la política de asilo y refugio) de Ecuador durante el periodo 1996- 2008. Para ello, se observan dos dimensiones de la política migratoria ecuatoriana: 1) el marco normativo y 2) las prácticas políticas para la implementación de las normas. La autora se propone responder a las preguntas ¿Cuáles son los principales cambios en la política migratoria del Estado ecuatoriano hacia las migraciones colombianas? ¿Cómo se explican esos cambios? Concluye que la política migratoria de Ecuador hacia las migraciones colombianas oscila entre una posición integracionista y abierta a la inmigración y una política de cierre de fronteras y contención del conflicto armado dentro del territorio colombiano. Las variables que explican dichos cambios son: 1) el creciente flujo de migrantes colombianos hacia Ecuador, 2) las dinámicas transnacionales del conflicto armado colombiano en la frontera y el contexto político al interior del Ecuador, y 3) las relaciones político-diplomáticas entre los dos países y la agenda política en la región suramericana.

French abstract: Cet article examine la politique de l'Équateur concernant l'immigration forcée de Colombiens vers ce pays. Il identifie les changements principaux effectués dans la politique d'immigration équatorienne (en incluant la politique publique d'asile) pour la période 1996-2008. Dans ce but, l'auteur examine deux dimensions de la politique publique d'immigration : 1) le cadre normatif, et 2) les pratiques politiques (la mise en œuvre du cadre normatif). L'auteur souhaite répondre aux questions suivantes : quels sont les changements principaux dans la politique d'immigration équatorienne concernant les migrations colombiennes forcées ? Comment pouvons-nous expliquer ces changements ? L'hypothèse est que la politique d'immigration de l'Équateur oscille entre l'intégration régionale ou binationale et le contrôle des frontières. Les variables perme ant d'expliquer ces changements sont : 1) l'ampleur des migrations colombiennes vers l'Équateur ; 2) les dynamiques transnationales du conflit armé interne au niveau de la frontière colombo-équatorienne et le contexte politique en Équateur ; et 3) les relations internationales entre la Colombie et l'Équateur ainsi que l'agenda politique de la région sud-américaine.

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Joan Gross

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.