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Ravi K. Raman

Through a case study of an anti-cola struggle in a south Indian village, this paper promotes the conceptual treatment of subaltern cosmopolitanism in the contemporary context of anticorporate social movements. In this situation the multiple issues raised by a local movement, such as livelihood, sustainability, and human rights, sensitize each of the new social agencies involved, within and outside the borders of the local state, and help forge a solidarity network across borders with their universally relevant concerns of environmental ethics and livelihood rights. It is further suggested that it is precisely the new politics of ecology and culture articulated by the subalterns that constructs an enduring and viable future for social movements.

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James F. Eder

English abstract: Degradation and reconfiguration of natural resources in coastal and upland Southeast Asia have set in motion a characteristic process of rural livelihood diversification with significant implications for gender roles and economic well-being. Drawing primarily on case material from the Philippines, this paper explores the transformations in household economies that have accompanied the search for more profitable and sustainable livelihoods and suggests how state and NGO interventions might encourage an entrepreneurial and economically desirable pattern of household-level diversification instead of a debilitating and wage-labor based pattern of individual-level diversification. These interventions include an expanded role for credit; skills training and related forms of support, particularly for women; protection of newly developing household enterprises from competition from large commercial operations; and more consensual and socially equitable forms of environmental governance.

Spanish abstract: La degradación y la reconfiguración de los recursos naturales en zonas costeras y tierras altas del sudeste asiático han impulsado un proceso particular de diversificación de los medios de vida rurales, con significativas consecuencias para los roles de género y el bienestar económico. A partir de una investigación realizada por el autor en las Filipinas, este trabajo explora las transformaciones de la economía de los hogares que han acompañado la búsqueda de medios de vida más rentables y sostenibles. Además, sugiere que las intervenciones del gobierno y de las ONG pueden fomentar un proceso de diversificación de ingresos en la economía de los hogares (household economies), emprendedor y económicamente deseable, en lugar de un modelo de diversificación individual debilitante basado en la relación entre salario y empleo. Estas intervenciones incluyen un rol ampliado de las formas de crédito, capacitacion y otras formas de apoyo, específicos para mujeres, protección de las nacientes empresas familiares frente a la competencia de grandes granjas comerciales, y formas de gobernanza medioambiental más consensuales y socialmente responsables.

French abstract: La dégradation et la reconfiguration des ressources naturelles sur les côtes et les hautes terres de l'Asie du Sud Est ont entamé un processus caractéristique de la diversification des moyens de subsistance en milieu rural, avec des implications considérables pour les rôles de genre et le bien-être économique. Se basant principalement sur des données venant des Philippines, cet article examine les transformations des revenus des ménages qui ont accompagné la recherche de moyens de subsistance plus durables et plus profitables. En outre, l'article suggère de quelle façon les interventions de l'État et des ONG peuvent encourager un modèle audacieux et économiquement souhaitable de diversification au niveau des ménages, au lieu d'un modèle de diversification au niveau de l'individu, débilitant et basé sur la relation salaire/travail. Ces interventions comprennent un rôle accru du crédit, des formations professionnelles et des formes de soutien apparentées (en particulier pour les femmes), la protection des entreprises des ménages tout juste en développement vis à vis de la compétition avec les grandes exploitations commerciales, ainsi que des formes de gouvernance environnementale plus consensuelles et socialement équitables.

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Empowering or impoverishing through credit

Small-scale producers and the Plan Chontalpa in Tabasco, Mexico

Gisela Lanzas and Matthew Whittle

This article examines the evolution of the credit market for small-scale sugarcane producers in the Plan Chontalpa development program in Tabasco, Mexico. The plan promoted neoliberal policies that transformed the existing credit market available to small-scale producers. The availability of credit was supposed to lead to increased efficiency. However, making credit available to low-income farmers can result in unintended outcomes. We found that many households had high discount rates and used the credit to supplement their household income. Thus, farmers are getting caught in a cycle of debt that often culminates in losing their land. We use a life history to consider the strategies the program has adopted to control credit as well as the counterstrategies the families have developed.

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Liudmila Alferova

The legal position of indigenous minorities in the Russian Federation is defined, first and foremost, by constitutional principles, which guarantee equal rights and freedoms to individuals and citizens. In reality, however, equality between indigenous minorities and other ethnic groups of the Russian Federation, in terms of the possibility of exercising their rights, depends largely on the conditions in which they live and conduct their livelihood activities. The rights of indigenous minorities are primarily concerned with preserving their ethnic identity, languages, culture, way of life, and livelihood activities. Additional safeguards are required to resolve contemporary issues related to the above.

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Aaron Kappeler

Based on ethnographic fieldwork in the highlands of Barinas, this article investigates the impact of “twenty-first century socialist” policies on the Andean peasantry and the relationships established as part of Venezuela’s ongoing agrarian reform. The analysis explores the historical and material-cultural factors surrounding coffee production in the Andes and the dynamics that have shaped a small group of growers. It examines the recent efforts of the Venezuelan government to increase domestic coffee production and support internal growers, suggesting that attempts to insert the state into the rentier structure of the coffee economy have somewhat inadvertently reinforced a working-class consciousness. The ethnographic vignette illustrates the present relationship of state functionaries to coffee growers and narrates their analysis of the conditions, showing the contradictory effect these relations have on the social awareness of growers.

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Susann Baez Ullberg

Flooding has long been a recurrent problem in the Argentinian city of Santa Fe, mainly affecting the poverty-stricken suburban outskirts. In 2003 one of the worst floods ever occurred, which also affected residents in the middle income sectors who had never been flooded before and who reacted with an extraordinary process of commemoration and protest against the government for its lax disaster management. Paradoxically, most other past disastrous floods in the city’s history seem to dwell in the shadows of social oblivion. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in the years 2004–2011, this article analyzes how local flood memories are made through daily life practices and places in the suburban outskirts, more than through public commemorations, which has implications for vulnerability and risk.

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Pierre Du Plessis and Sanal Mohan

John Hartigan Jr., Care of the Species: Races of Corn and the Science of Plant Biodiversity. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 376, 2017.

Luisa Steur, Indigenist Mobilization: Confronting Electoral Communism and Precarious Livelihoods in Post-Reform Kerala. New York: Berghahn, pp. 302, 2017.

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Thijs Schut

Development discourses often assume linear rural transitions, in which educated young people are supposed to leave their rural communities, becoming urban. However, drawing on fieldwork in Flores (East Indonesia), I argue that tertiary educated young people do return to their natal communities upon graduation. There, they want to act—by virtue of their education—as vanguards of positive change and alter what they consider backward, rural livelihoods and practices. Yet, educated young people often depend on these livelihoods and practices, too, especially when they cannot obtain work, which is common in rural Flores. To better understand the tensions inherent to these young people’s position within their rural communities, I map the reasons for their returns to rural Flores.

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Gunnar Thorvaldsen

Swedish troops were the first major group of foreigners to be exiled to Siberia. This article overviews their early eighteenth century diaspora, particularly their livelihoods, religiosity and terms of imprisonment, their relations with Russian citizens and authorities, and their potential contributions to the development of Asian Russia. It builds primarily on Swedish secondary and primary sources such as the officers' diaries, and to some extent on the much scarcer Russian historiography.

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Reinhold Loeffler

The case of a remote tribal village in southwest Iran demonstrates the circumstances conducive to positive rural development. My research suggests that since the founding of this village around 1880, its people - led by a progressive, literate young chief - successfully defended their realm against incorporation into the neighbouring chiefs' reigns of lawlessness and warfare; introduced and modernised irrigation agriculture and fruit cultivation then unique in the whole region; and embraced formal education. Discussing such adaptive strategies, I argue that a strong ethos of progress and achievement, including civic awareness, motivated local people from the beginning to pursue new ways to improve their livelihood.