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dc.contributor.authorVandermolen, Kristin Anne
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation examines the persistence of the ethnodevelopment framework in highland Ecuador in light of scholarly critiques related to the livelihood outcomes and representations of indigenous culture produced. The research contributes to a new paradigm in anthropology that seeks to identify the moral and social worlds in which development becomes meaningful to stakeholders through ethnographic examination of the specific contexts in which those meanings emerge. In utilizing exploration of those worlds as a tool for understanding why ethnodevelopment has endured, the dissertation offers new insights into the importance of balancing structural and local interpretations of cultural representations and development processes. Drawing on ten months of field work from February to December 2103, this research examines where local interests interlock to produce support for ethnodevelopment among (1) the Union of Peasant and Indigenous Organizations of Cotacachi (UNORCAC), an indigenous development organization in Cotacachi, Ecuador; and (2) the local population that the organization serves. Extensive participant observation combined with focus groups, interviews, and household surveys with leaders and beneficiaries of UNORCAC reveal that ethnodevelopment dovetails with local processes of cultural valorization that have been in progress since the organization’s founding. Such findings imply that local communities show a desire for reproducing indigenous culture that cannot be explained solely in terms of adherence to externally imposed development. However, the research also suggests that the small-scale socio-cultural nature of ethnodevelopment projects may do more to valorize indigenous culture than to aid household and community wellbeing, and further, that ethnodevelopment has contributed to the depoliticization of indigenous organizations over the last decades. The dissertation contributes to a growing body of literature that places examination of stakeholder interests at the forefront of development research, while also reorienting discussions of cultural representation in ethnodevelopment towards broader anthropological debates on the opportunities and constraints of self-essentialism for indigenous populations. The research is also relevant to broader discussions on the role of development NGOs in the provision of social services under neoliberal states, where there is concern among scholars for understanding how donor relations affect the autonomy of these organizations, and ultimately, their abilities to provide for local populations.
dc.rightsOn Campus Only Until 2017-05-01
dc.subjectAnthropology and development
dc.subjectindigenous movements
dc.subjectcultural valorization and revitalization
dc.titleMaking development meaningful
dc.title.alternativeunderstanding stakeholder interpretations of ethnodevelopment in highland Ecuador
dc.description.advisorDonald R. Nelson
dc.description.committeeDonald R. Nelson
dc.description.committeeJulie Velasquez Runk
dc.description.committeeVirginia Nazarea
dc.description.committeeOscar Chamosa

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