Sustainability: Design for the Pluriverse

Sustainability: Design for the Pluriverse

By Arturo Escobar

In ‘Sustainability: Design for the pluriverse’ Escobar brings together contemporary discussions of Transition Discourses - that is, discourses that argue for radical cultural and institutional transformations in ‘a transition to an altogether different world’. As discussed by Enrique Leff in our previous post, Escobar signals how these discourses have been emerging with particular strength in environmental and sustainability discussions in recent years. To Escobar, however, they highlight the necessity to overcome the modern ontology that ‘presumes the existence of One World – a universe’ and expand on the multiplicity of worlds possible. Rather than restricting the possibilities of re-thinking our debate on sustainability, Escobar emphasizes ‘the profound relationality of all life, these newer tendencies show that there are indeed relational worldviews or ontologies for which the world is always multiple – a pluriverse.’ His calls to open and re-imagine our discussions in this pluriversal understanding of sustainability are an inspirational contribution for Alternautas that we are happy to share with you as the opening post of 2015.

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"Churcar" Alternatives to Development

"Churcar" Alternatives to Development

By Eduardo Gudynas

Translated by Julien Vanhulst and Ana Estefanía Carballo

As  ideas  about  development  are  so  deeply  rooted,  attempts  to  seek  alternatives are  almost  like  swimming  against  the  prevailing  cultural  current.  To  effectively pursue these alternatives, radical changes are necessary from the source. Instead of quoting Marx or Lenin, I consider more appropriate to draw  inspiration from an old word of the Tacanas in Bolivia: “Churcar”.

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Buen Vivir, Sumak Kawsay, 'Good Living': An Introduction and Overview

Buen Vivir, Sumak Kawsay, 'Good Living': An Introduction and Overview

By Johannes Waldmüller

This overview and introduction to Buen Vivir and/or Sumak Kawsay refers to the context and discussion in Ecuador. It differentiates between Buen Vivir and Sumak Kawsay as well as between (at least) three main types of this vast field of discourses and practices: (1) a state-led program for the 'socialism of the 21st century"; (2) a post-modern utopian and intellectual project, drawing on indigenous Andean values; and (3) an (essentializing) 'indigenist' form of living and thinking that adds spiritual ontological dimensions, based on individually and collectively acquiring a practice of all-connected consciousness.

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The Opportunity of Latin American Development Thinking

The Opportunity of Latin American Development Thinking

By Ana Estefanía Carballo

The calls for Buen Vivir that have emerged from the Andean region have prompted a revival of interest in Latin American contributions to development thinking. Policy and academic initiatives have multiplied in the last few years (See post on Buen Vivir), in a reinvigorated interest in alternative notions of development, as well as in the struggles of social movements from across the region and their impacts on national and regional politics. The policy initiatives from different governments in the region that appear to have tilted the political paths to the left, have attracted international headlines and a shifted attention to discussions of development that to inexperienced eyes may appear as a novelty. This renewed interest in Latin American development thinking is most welcome in a discussion that has largely prioritised a Western/Eurocentric lens in its focus. However, this new opportunity to engage with Latin American thinking should not be dissociated from the wealth of experiences, academic and otherwise, that this region has seen in the field of critical development.

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