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Llamas, Weavings, and Organic Chocolate

Multicultural Grassroots Development in the Andes and Amazon of Bolivia

Kevin Healy

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University of Notre Dame Press img Link Publisher

Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Geschichte


Bolivia, like most developing countries around the world, strove for decades to imitate Western and particularly U.S. methods of development, importing the latest technologies, institutions, crops, and livestock. Finally, beginning in the 1970s, faced with many striking instances of failure in the application of the North American modernization paradigm, diverse sectors of Bolivian civil society turned inward to rediscover their country's own multicultural identities and agrarian wisdom as sources of strength upon which to build their own socioeconomic development. The shift spawned a proliferation of development projects grounded in a new "indigenization" or revitalization of cultural traditions. Llamas, Weavings, and Organic Chocolate: Multicultural Grassroots Development in the Andes and Amazon of Bolivia is the story of Bolivian rural development and cultural change. Part I provides an overview of the history of rural development in Bolivia—the long history of anti-indigenous discrimination, the introduction of aid programs in the Western development paradigm, the rise of grassroots movements challenging this paradigm, and the array of initiatives now contributing to the revitalization of indigenous cultural resources. Part II consists of in-depth narratives of nine projects, giving an inside view of the processes that interweave cultural recuperation and developmental strategies. These stories illustrate the cultural barriers that must be overcome and the setbacks often faced by grassroots federations. The projects range from successful agro-exports such as organic chocolate and quinoa to the groundbreaking work of indigenous artists and artisans. In Part III, author Kevin Healy attempts to identify the numerous factors that helped engender successful outcomes in these projects and discusses the effects of globalization on Bolivian culture and development patterns. This inspirational story of social change led by idealism will be valuable for international policymakers, analysts, and aid officials, as well as native North and South Americans, and non-Native Americans who strongly identify with their struggles.

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