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Scientific paper


Sumak Kawsay: Living non-­‐capitalist values in a capitalist world.

Lucia Gallardo

Entry type:
Scientific paper

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Degrowth Conference Leipzig 2014


Sumak Kawsay, anti-capitalist, Eurocentric, indigenous women, non-capitalist values, emergence and time

Abstract:The principle of Sumak Kawsay (Buen Vivir) produces a dispute regarding possibilities for living non-capitalist values in a capitalist world. Using Benjamin words, Sk expresses an irruption or an epistemic break inside a word where ‘the’ capitalist relation is hegemonic. We ask: how is the colonized gaze still driving the way intellectuals and governments understand Sumak Kawsay? While intellectuals try to make sense of the SK as a novelty, Ecuador’s government promotes the realization of Sumak Kawsay pointing to the indigenous struggle as pre- or anti-modern. Thinking about Sumak Kawsay as a novelty or as something that belongs to the past produces a double silencing: de-historicizing and depoliticizing the resistance of indigenous people. My argument is that the process of celebrating SK as a novelty to re-think development is delegitimizing its already existent and practiced transformative character: SK is an irruption that makes visible the presence or the existence of non-capitalist values in our historical present. Thus, Sumak Kawsay is a political and historical rationality that allows us to feel our lives as being deeply connected to the ‘Other’

This media entry was a contribution to the special session "Challenges to growth from the South: Conflicts and alternatives" at the 4th International Degrowth Conference in Leipzig in 2014.

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