MASS-PRODUCING INDIGENEITY: STATE AND NGO DISCOURSE AND ACTION AROUND INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE IN BOLIVIA
Author: Milo Hogan Schneider
Graduation Year: 2017
Thesis Advisor: Darren J. Ranco
Description of Publication: In light of a recent surge in academic and political interest in indigeneity and indigenous knowledge, it is necessary to ask who has the power to define these terms. Indigenous people are often politically and economically marginalized, with relatively little power compared to states and agencies with international ties, and this has shaped the histories of many indigenous groups. Agrobiodiversity is one area in which interest in indigenous knowledge has become prominent. Efforts to document and conserve this agrobiodiversity have often failed to acknowledge the conditions that precipitated agrobiodiversity being threatened. Bolivia, as a country with a high percentage of people identifying as indigenous, rich agrobiodiversity, and an “indigenous” government that emphasizes indigenous rights and values, is an important location to examine to better understand how these discourses on indigeneity play out, and how they impact indigenous people. This thesis focuses on the context of agriculture and agrobiodiversity, and the ways in which government and NGO action and rhetoric have impacted indigenous farmers. This thesis will specifically look at two different crops in Bolivia that have been noted for their vast diversity in varieties, and targeted for conservation efforts: potatoes and quinoa. This will provide a good basis to begin to discuss the ways in which attempts to include indigeneity often approach indigeneity and indigenous knowledge with western concepts of ‘science,’ ‘progress’ and ‘economic development’ as inherently good. This language of indigeneity within the government and NGOs is often used to further predetermined goals, whether these are shared with indigenous people they claim to include or not.
Location of Publication:
URL to Thesis: