The stone guests

Buen Vivir and popular environmentalisms in the Andes and Amazonia

Authored by: Jorge Marcone

The Routledge Companion to the Environmental Humanities

Print publication date:  January  2017
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138786745
eBook ISBN: 9781315766355
Adobe ISBN: 9781317660194

10.4324/9781315766355.ch23

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Abstract

A crucial question to ask in any serious reflection on our times is undoubtedly: “How are human identities and responsibilities to be articulated when we understand ourselves to be members of multispecies communities that emerge through the entanglements of agential beings?” (Rose 3). The question is, of course, a recognizable item in the agenda of the environmental humanities, although it undermines two basic assumptions for defining the objects of study of the humanities and the social sciences: the opposition between subject and object, by which the properties of the subject, such as agency, intentionality, and communication, are denied to the object; and the split between society and nature, which leads to either explaining society with the laws that rule nature, or conversely, explaining society as a domain autonomous from nature. These issues have come up too, loud and clear, in the blare of popular social movements’ battles against actual, perceived, or potential environmental injustices. In these struggles for territorial rights, access to and control of natural resources, and equity regarding environmental services, the fight for legitimizing other ontologies and axiologies regarding the interrelationships between humans and nonhumans has taken its own place in the public spaces where political confrontations and negotiations occur. These beliefs and values are raised by indigenous and nonindigenous peoples at the front line of climate change impacts and of the consequences of extractive development policies enforced by right-wing and left-wing governments alike.

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