Ethnicity, Gender, and Oil: Comparative Dynamics in the Ecuadorian Amazon

Citation:

Vallejo, Ivette, Cristina Cielo, and Fernando García. 2019. "Ethnicity, Gender, and Oil: Comparative Dynamics in the Ecuadorian Amazon." Latin American Perspectives 46 (2): 182-98.

Authors: Ivette Vallejo, Cristina Cielo, Fernando García

Abstract:

ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
During the past decade, Ecuador’s Alianza PAÍS socialist government, primarily under the leadership of Rafael Correa, was committed to moving toward a post-neoliberal economy and implementing a “New Amazon” free of poverty, with expanded infrastructure and services, as part of the redistribution of oil revenues. However, in sites of state development projects, gender hierarchies and territorial dispossession in fact became more acute. Analysis of two place-based indigenous political ecologies—one in the central Amazon, where the state licensed new oil blocks in Sapara territory to a Chinese company in 2016, and the other in the Kichwa community of Playas de Cuyabeno in the northern Amazon, where the state company PetroAmazonas has operated since the 1970s—shows how women have reconfigured their ethnic and gender identities in relation to oil companies and the state in the context of rising and falling oil prices and in doing so reinforced or challenged male leaders’ positions in the internal structures of their communities and organizations.
 
SPANISH ABSTRACT:
Durante la última década, el gobierno socialista de Alianza PAÍS de Ecuador, princi- palmente bajo el liderazgo de Rafael Correa, se comprometió a avanzar hacia una economía posneoliberal e implementar una “Nueva Amazonía” libre de pobreza, con infraestructura y servicios ampliados, como parte de la redistribución de los ingresos petroleros. Sin embargo, en los sitios de proyectos estatales de desarrollo, las jerarquías de género y el despojo territorial de hecho se hicieron más agudos. Análisis de dos ecologías políticas indígenas basadas en el lugar—una en la Amazonía central, donde el estado otorgó licen- cias de nuevos bloques petroleros en el territorio de Sapara a una compañía china en 2016, y la otra en la comunidad Kichwa de Playas de Cuyabeno, en el norte de la Amazonía, donde la compañía estatal PetroAmazonas ha operado desde la década de 1970—muestra cómo las mujeres han reconfigurado sus identidades étnicas y de género en relación con las compañías petroleras y el estado en el contexto del alza y la caída de los precios del petróleo y, al hacerlo, refuerzan o desafían las posiciones de los líderes masculinos en la estructura interna de sus comunidades y organizaciones.

Keywords: neoextractivism, petroleum, ethnic identities, gender, Amazonia

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Ethnicity, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Infrastructure, Political Economies Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Ecuador

Year: 2019

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