Indigenous Peoples at the Frontlines of Globalization

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 09:15
Oral Presentation
Stellan VINTHAGEN, University of Amerherst, Massachusetts, USA
Håkan THÖRN, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
The overall aim of this paper is to make a literature overview and analyze conflicts concerning environmental destruction that involve Indigenous peoples and their claims to land. In particular we will through an comparison of conflicts on four continents examine what social relations, political strategies and claims of local governance and/or local autonomy are developed in the process. Indigenous peoples (IPs) cannot be separated from land as IPs think of human beings in terms of their knowledge, experiences, stories, and memories where relations to the land is essential. Land rights and responsibilities are of particular importance to study considering the centrality of land in the colonization to which IPs have been subjected, in their articulation of cultural revival and local autonomy, and the particular inflection it gives to Indigenous environmentalism in comparison with other forms of environmentalism. We are particularly interested in how ethnic boundaries may be transcended in the process of local, national and transnational political mobilization, which creates links between different social movements and socio-geographic and political contexts. Using examples of Indigenous struggles in East Asia, North America, Scandinavia, South America our paper transcends the conventional distinction between the (rich) Global North and (the poor) Global South often used in globalization research. These are our overarching questions:

1) How do IPs articulate conflicts concerning environmental destruction, in which land rights are involved,– and what strategies and social relations are shaped in the process?

2) How are collective identities shaped in the conflicts that IPs are involved in and what claims to, and actual forms of, local governance are shaped in the process?