The Concept of Good Life in Ecuador Between Indigenous Movement, Mestizo Intellectuals and State Politics

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 3:00 PM
Room: 301
Oral Presentation
Philipp ALTMANN , FU Berlin, Germany
The concept of Sumak Kawsay, Buen Vivir or Good Life has entered the political discourse in Ecuador since the years 2000 to 2002. After a slow integration into the discourse of the indigenous movement that understood Good Life as a territory and identity-based harmony between individual, society and nature, the Constituent Assembly 2007/2008 lead to a further dissemination of this concept. In this context, two other discursive streams won importance: a left-leaning group of mestizo intellectuals on a Latin-american level, amongst them Alberto Acosta and Eduardo Gudynas, and the Ecuadorian State that declared the Good Life in the 2008 Constitution as its central principle. Both groups differ from the indigenous definition, highlighting -in the case of the intellectuals- the contact points to other discourses, such as socialism or environmentalism or -in the case of the state- the possibilities of implementation. In both cases, the territorial and identitarian implications are downsized.

This presentation will resume the history and development of the concept of Good Life, concentrating on the different conceptions of Good Life by the three main groups that work with this notion. By this, the different political backgrounds and implications and the conflicts that are based on them will be worked out.