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Indigenous Deals – Cosmologies Negotiated in Environmental and Development Projects



von Bremen, V. Indigenous Deals – Cosmologies Negotiated in Environmental and Development Projects. Sociologus, 67(1), 43-57.
von Bremen, Volker "Indigenous Deals – Cosmologies Negotiated in Environmental and Development Projects" Sociologus 67.1, , 43-57.
von Bremen, Volker: Indigenous Deals – Cosmologies Negotiated in Environmental and Development Projects, in: Sociologus, vol. 67, iss. 1, 43-57, [online]


Indigenous Deals – Cosmologies Negotiated in Environmental and Development Projects

von Bremen, Volker

Sociologus, Vol. 67 (2017), Iss. 1 : pp. 43–57

2 Citations (CrossRef)

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Author Details

Dr. Volker von Bremen, Ethnologe, Berater zur Kooperation mit indigenen Völkern in Lateinamerika, Brot für die Welt / Misereor, Daglfinger Str. 67, 81929 München

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Affected by the current context of neo-extractivism and the ongoing expansion of world market oriented agriculture and livestock breeding into primary forest areas, Indigenous organizations and communities are seeking support to protect their territories. Forced to enter into an environment of negotiation dominated by foreign cosmologies and paradigms, delegates of Indigenous organizations who participate in meetings outside their own, well known physical and spiritual territories and environments are constantly confronted with difficulties; they have to transmit messages of their own living context during those events, and, later on, provide information on the results to their own communities. At the same time, and based on extended experiences, they have developed a variety of different strategies to cope with these situations.

This article draws on long-time expertise in the development cooperation in South America. Based on research stays and the monitoring of various processes among Indigenous groups in the Amazon, Gran Chaco, and Mata Atlántica, I present comparative remarks on the clash of paradigms and the corresponding dynamics in negotiation procedures. Special attention is given to topics related to, on the one hand the ‘gestión territorial’ (‘dealing with territories’ or ‘management of territories’1), which in some countries has become part of governmental policy. On the other hand, I reflect on the debates about the REDD+-mechanism discussed in the UN-Conferences of the Parties of the Convention on Climate Change and consider project negotiations in the corresponding preparatory process. The focus is on dynamics and reflections among specific Indigenous organizations and communities that have entered into further negotiating processes on the topics mentioned, as well as on responses they have developed according to their cosmologies.