Lazy Labor, Modernization, and Coloniality

Mobile Cultures between the Andes and the Amazon around 1900

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  • 1 Chulalongkorn University
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Abstract

This article examines two distinct yet overlapping cultures of mobility in turn-of-the-century Ecuador. On the one hand, there was a modernizing culture that sought to implement utopian modes of transportation between the Andes and the Amazon. On the other hand, there were indigenous porters and pilots, who had nonhegemonic ideas about mobility and labor. This article argues that (1) indigenous labor was based on the performance of colonial habits, which I refer to as coloniality; (2) within this framework of spatial practice, native bodily rhythms could be interpreted as successful tactics of everyday resistance; and (3) the conflict between Indians and non-Indians reveals a universal, modern tension between machine and humanlike mobilities.

Contributor Notes

Jaime Moreno Tejada is based at Chulalongkorn University (Thailand), where he teaches history and cultural theory. Jaime studies the spatio-temporal limits of modernity, with a focus on tropical South America and, more recently, Southeast Asia. Publications include “Rhythms of Everyday Trade” (2016, Asian Journal of Latin American Studies) and the book Transnational Frontiers of Asia and Latin America since 1800 (2016, Routledge) coedited with Bradley Tatar.