In the Way of Development-Indigenous Peoples, Life Projects and Globalization


About this Book

This volume is the product of a mutually enriching collaboration between Indigenous leaders, other social activists and scholars from a wide range of disciplines. It explores what is happening today to Indigenous peoples as they are inevitably enmeshed in the remorseless expansion of the modern economy and development, subject to the pressures of the marketplace and government. It is particularly timely, given the growing criticism of free-market capitalism, and of development.

The volume assembles a rich diversity of statements, case studies of specific struggles and situations, and wider thematic explorations. All start from the fact that Indigenous peoples are actors, not victims. The accounts come primarily from North America, and particularly the Cree, the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and Chippewa–Ojibwe peoples who straddle the US/Canadian border. There are also studies of Indigenous peoples from South America, and even from the former Soviet Union.

The intellectual focus is on the complex relationships that develop between Indigenous peoples, civil society and the environment in the context of market- and state-mandated development. The volume shows how the boundaries between Indigenous peoples’ organizations, civil society, the state, markets, development and the environment are ambiguous and constantly changing. It is this fact that lies at the heart of the political possibility of local agency, but also, ironically, of the possibility of undermining it.

The volume seeks to capture these complex, power-laden, often contradictory features of Indigenous agency and relationships. It shows how peoples do not just resist or react to the pressures of market and state, but also sustain ‘life projects’ of their own which embody local history and incorporate visions and strategies for enhancing their social and economic ways of living and their relationships to state and markets.

The Editors

Mario Blaser is an Argentinian–Canadian anthropologist who has worked and collaborated on a variety of endeavours undertaken by the Yshiro people since 1991. His scholarly work focuses on exploring the epistemological and political possibilities of non-modern ways of knowing.

Harvey A. Feit is Professor of Anthropology at McMaster University, Ontario. He was an adviser to the Grand Council of the Crees during their 1972–78 treaty process. His research is on how Cree epistemology shapes conservation practices and how these inform political relationships.

Glenn McRae is an applied anthropologist who has worked extensively throughout the United States, India, South Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America as an environmental consultant. He has a Ph.D. from the Union Institute and University, and teaches at the University of Vermont.

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