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  • Indigenous Movements in Latin America, 1992-2004: Controversies, Ironies, New DirectionsAuthor(s): Jean E. Jackson and Kay B. WarrenSource: Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 34 (2005), pp. 549-573Published by: Annual ReviewsStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25064898 .Accessed: 07/03/2015 18:48

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  • Indigenous Movements in Latin America, 1992-2004:

    Controversies, Ironies, New Directions

    Jean E. Jackson1 and Kay B. Warren2 1 Anthropology Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge,

    Massachusetts 02139; email: jjackson@mit.edu 2 Watson Institute of International Studies, Brown University, Providence,

    Rhode Island 02912-1970; email: Kay_Warren@brown.edu

    Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 2005. 34:549-73

    The Annual Review of Anthropology is online at


    doi: 10.1146/ annurev.anthro.34.081804.120529

    Copyright ? 2005 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved

    0084-6570/05/1021 0549S20.00

    Key Words

    new social movements, cultural rights, indigenous politics, public

    intellectuals, diversity versus essentialism


    This review examines literature on indigenous movements in Latin

    America from 1992 to 2004. It addresses ethnic identity and eth nic activism, in particular the reindianization processes occurring in

    indigenous communities throughout the region. We explore the im

    pact that states and indigenous mobilizing efforts have had on each other, as well as the role of transnational nongovernmental organi zations and para-statal organizations, neoliberalism more broadly, and armed conflict. Shifts in ethnoracial, political, and cultural in

    digenous discourses are examined, special attention being paid to

    new deployments of rhetorics concerned with political imaginaries, customary law, culture, and identity. Self-representational strategies

    will be numerous and dynamic, identities themselves multiple, fluid, and abundantly positional. The challenges these dynamics present for anthropological field research and ethnographic writing are dis

    cussed, as is the dialogue between scholars, indigenous and not, and

    activists, indigenous and not. Conclusions suggest potentially fruitful research directions for the future.


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  • Contents






    Indigenous Political Imaginarles .. 562

    Customary Law. 563

    Indigenous Deployment of Culture 563

    Identity. 564 FUTURE DIRECTIONS. 565

    Customary law:

    gives local authorities rights to

    judge, detain, settle disputes, establish

    sanctions, and punish on the basis of their distinctive normative


    (Latin American) indigenous

    peoples: culturally diverse political

    minorities who trace

    their histories and cultural identifications before the conquest and colonization of the

    New World

    INTRODUCTION This review examines a cross-section of the

    literature on indigenous movements in Latin

    America from 1992 through 2004. This tem

    poral framing spans important historical mo

    ments, from the Columbian quincentenary and the end of the Cold War through the

    stepped-up globalization of the present. We

    confine our focus to what we see to be some

    of the most important aspects of indigenous

    organizing, and to several undeservedly ne

    glected issues. Enlisting the notion of shifts in activist and scholarly discourses to struc

    ture our argument, we adopt perspectives from three subject positions: states and in ternational actors, indigenous communities

    (henceforth "pueblos"1), and scholars (a cate

    gory that includes indigenous and nonindige nous, national and foreign scholars). We then

    look more closely at what we refer to as lan

    guages of implementation: altered or entirely new performative rhetorics and the discursive

    terrains on which they are deployed (political imaginarles, customary law, culture, and iden

    tity). We are particularly concerned to high light the serious limitations of several analytic

    polarities, previously useful but now impedi ments more than anything else.

    In 1995, Van Cott characterized the goals of Latin American indigenous movements to

    be self-determination and autonomy, with an

    emphasis on cultural distinctiveness; politi cal reforms that involve a restructuring of the

    state; territorial rights and access to natural re

    sources, including control over economic de

    velopment; and reforms of military and police

    powers over indigenous peoples (p. 12). Our

    primary aim has been to highlight what we, a decade later, see to be the most important


    Owing to page length constraints imposed

    by the Annual Reviews format, this review is

    not a survey of the literature, nor does it

    address the history of indigenous organiz

    ing in Latin America. We cannot comprehen

    sively discuss many significant epistemolog ical issues, for example, the implications of

    the shift to more historicized research per

    spectives, nor can we construct models or ty

    pologies, systematically characterize the na

    tional movements in each country, or do more

    than mention some of the work on various

    crucial topics. Finally, we deeply regret hav

    ing to limit our ability to cite the burgeon

    ing Latin American literature, indigenous and

    nonindigenous, on this topic. The topics of ethnic identity and ethnic

    activism now interest some of the best and

    brightest young scholars in anthropology and

    political science. Latin Americanist scholar

    ship on these subjects alone has become a vir tual industry. Surely one reason for this is the

    several spectacularly successful indigenous mobilizations during the 1990s, such as the

    indigenous uprisings in Ecuador (Selverston Scher 2001; Van Cott 2005; Whitten 2004, pp. 62-64) and Bolivia (Van Cott 2000, Calla

    1This Spanish term means both "town/community" and

    "people." Villal?n discusses this term in the Venezuelan context (2002, pp. 18, 32). Indigenous peoples in Latin America have tended to organize politically around the idea of belonging to pueblos rather than to minority or racial


    SSO Jackson Warren

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  • 2000). Other well-known cases are still strug gling to have a sustained national impact.

    The Zapatista uprising in Chiapas in 1994 to protest the signing of the North Ameri can Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (Collier 1999, Harvey 1998, Rus et al. 2003, Stephen 2002) is one example, but it nonetheless man

    aged to achieve an important measure of re

    gional self-administration and self-definition in a manner previously unthinkable. Mobi

    lizing continues to make headlines; in 2000, indigenous people helped force the Bolivian

    government to cancel plans to allow the Bech

    tel Corporation sell the country's water to its

    own citizens (Laurie et al. 2002, pp. 265-69). In several countries, most spectacularly in Bo

    livia and Ecuador, the indigenous movement

    has worked to create ethno-political parties that participate at every electoral level (Albo 2002).

    DISCOURSE SHIFTS?STATE, NATIONAL, TRANSNATIONAL Until the 1980s and 1990s, Latin American

    public discourse and state policies discouraged politicized indigenous identification. The in

    digenist policies of the era were directed at assimilation. Gordillo & Hirsch (2003) talk of the "invisibilization" of Indians in

    Argentina (the same occurred with blacks in Colombia; see Wade 2002, p. 9). Sam Colop (1996) speaks of a Guatemalan state "dis course of concealment." National policy and

    class-based organizing encouraged indige nous Bolivians and Peruvians to self-identify as

    campesinos. State nationalism associates

    indigenous communities with the nation's

    "glorious indigenous past," marginalizing them in the present?except for museums,

    tourism, and folkloric events (Alonso 1994). Mallon (1992) provides an illuminating com

    parison of state projects for a "modern" mes tizo hegemony in Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia.

    The past three decades have seen a re

    markable reversal. In Ecuador groups pre

    viously seen basically as Quichua-speaking campesinos have been classified into a set of

    pueblos and assigned territories (Macd