Alternautas - Journal Issue No. 2 available

Alternautas - Journal Issue No. 2 available

In early 2015, the Alternautas family grew bigger. With a team of eight-member Editorial Board and thirteen Commissioning Editors, Alternautas has strengthened its community, organising several panels at international conferences, as well as maintaining a vibrant online community. To further contribute with sharing and debating the very timely and original body of thinking arising from the South, we are launching the second edition of the Alternautas Journal.

Unlike a traditional journal, Alternautas favors short articles, also welcoming research-in progress and essayistic, experimental writing, while maintaining high standards of academic rigor and the peer-review process of traditional journals. These innovative characteristics are meant to enhance dialogue, exchange and dissemination of ideas among researchers (also early-stage), public scholars, and reflexive practitioners. This new edited collection aims at further disseminating the short academic writings published as posts on our blog during the first half of 2015. The compilation invites our readers to reflect on development from a range of academic landscapes.

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Human Rights Indicators as “Development 2.0”?

Human Rights Indicators as “Development 2.0”?

By Johannes Waldmüller

Are there currently more alternative projects of and to development ongoing in the Latin American region? Others than, for example, Buen Vivir (Ecuador)/Vivir Bien (Bolivia), self-governance, participatory budgeting and a general political rupture through the appearance of, what de la Cadena has called, “Earth-beings” (2010)? In this article, I trace another legal-technical, yet humanist, approach to improve people lives in the region; one that has been termed as 'Development 2.0'. This label points at the fusion of two overlapping, yet partly contradicting businesses and movements: social and econ sciences-related development, on the one hand, and legal and technical human rights, on the other (de Béco, 2014). While for a long time both were promoted somehow separately – by different actors and through different institutions (what de Béco has characterized as rather strictly ‘norm-related’ in the case of human rights and more flexible ‘change-related’ in the case of development) – recent advances and ongoing debates regards post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) have spurred initiatives toward mutually more integral approaches (e.g. Raza and Baxewanos, 2013). 

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The Brazilian City and the Negation of the Other

The Brazilian City and the Negation of the Other

By Lucas Melgaço

Historically, cities have not been equally friendly and accommodating to everybody. Indeed, they were born from the identification and consolidation of a group of “equals” who shared the aim of protecting their own interests and defending themselves from the encroachments of the “other”. In the classical Greek city examples of this were strangers and prisoners of war. In the medieval European city the sick, such as lepers, and the jobless were those branded “undesirable” (Le Goff 1997). Presently, Arabs and black Africans, in Western Europe, and Latino immigrants, in the United States, are some examples of those who are frequently considered the others. Despite the extensive contributions of the English-speaking scientific community to the understanding of these classification and differentiation processes (e.g. Jenkins 2000), scholars have overlooked the reproduction of this discrimination in the so-called “global south”. In this short article I will cover particular aspects of the Brazilian case and show how the negation of the other, here, is not limited to actions and discourse, but also materializes in urban forms dedicated to separating and rejecting undesirable persons.

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Notes on René Zavaleta: 'Abigarramiento' as Condition of Constitutive Power

Notes on René Zavaleta: 'Abigarramiento' as Condition of Constitutive Power

By Anne Freeland

One of the major tasks of the Latin American left, since the early twentieth century but especially over the past couple of decades, has been the negotiation or articulation of a political and intellectual tradition with Marxist roots and one of indigenous resistance. This post looks at the history and afterlife of a key term that has served to bridge this gap in the Bolivian context, René Zavaleta Mercado’s concept of abigarramiento or sociedad abigarrada, “motley society.” My interest in the concept is primarily as an antidote to the much-discussed slippage into a multiculturalism that is typically identified as (neo)liberal and that co-opts and neutralizes plurinational projects founded on a promise of indigenous autonomy but that can also serve a plurinationalism (and to my knowledge this connection has not received the same level of critical analysis) that operates as a discursive strategy of populist legitimation of the state.

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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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