The Indigenous Movement in Ecuador As an Exercise of Self-Inclusion – a Luhmannian View on Social Movements in the Global South

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 17:00
Location: Hörsaal 15 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Philipp ALTMANN, Universidad Central del Ecuador, Ecuador
The exclusion from one social subsystem can lead to the exclusion from other and maybe all social subsystems. This gives a new meaning to the old dictum that the subaltern cannot speak. Actually, he (or she) cannot – because he is excluded from most communicative systems. This is the situation of a considerably large part of the population worldwide and especially in the Global South. This presentation argues that self-organization –for instance as a social movement- can serve on the long run as a means for self-inclusion. The indigenous movement in Ecuador is a good example for the possibility of self-inclusion: a vast number of people lived for centuries almost completely excluded from economy (relegated to subsistence activities or semi-feudalism), politics (without the right to vote and political visibility), education and so on. In the early 20th century, this very people starts to organize in worker unions that with the time establish clandestine schools, later production and credit cooperatives, church communities, sports clubs and finally a political party. Until the 1990s, the moment of high visibility of the movement, it already established a wide range of structures that put the indigenous peoples in the possibility to communicate in virtually every subsystem.

This presentation will develop another approach to the study of social movements in the Global South by applying Luhmannian ideas. By this, an alternative to the mostly Eurocentric theories of social movements will be developed.