Dissertation Abstracts

The Indigenous Movement in Ecuador as Decolonial Actor: A Concept-Centered Analysis of its Discourse

Author: Altmann, Philipp , PhilippAltmann@gmx.de
Department: Institute for Latin American Studies
University: Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
Supervisor: Sérgio Costa
Year of completion: 2013
Language of dissertation: German

Keywords: Ecuador , Indigenous Movement , Postcolonial Studies , Discourse Analysis
Areas of Research: Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations , Social Classes and Social Movements , Conceptual and Terminological Analysis


Since its beginnings in the 1920s, the Ecuadorean indigenous movement has been shaped by competition and occasional cooperation between its member organizations, especially regarding the actions and the discourse or ideology of the movement. Since a Sattelzeit between the mid-1970s and the mid-1980s, a discourse formed that combines identitarian with classist positions and is built around the political concepts of indigenous nationality, territoriality, plurinationality, interculturality, and good life. The development of this discourse is also defined by a competition between different organizations within the indigenous movement. For instance, the concept of interculturality was introduced in 1995 by a smaller organization as a counter-concept against plurinationality. Similarly, the concept of good life was introduced in 2002 by a local organization and is primarily concerned with nature and petroleum production. Despite the plurality of discourses, CONAIE, the most important organization of the movement, was able to integrate these counter-concepts into a coherent discourse. Since 1988, this coherent discourse has been presented to society and the state on several occasions. Because of its rejection of discrimination, oppression, and inequality--all of which are part of the colonial structure of Ecuadorean society--this discourse can be understood as a decolonial one, in which different concepts treat different aspects of coloniality and advocate resistance to it.

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