Territories of Difference: Place, Movements, Life, Redes by Arturo Escobar

Territories of Difference: Place, Movements, Life, Redes

Arturo Escobar
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Analyzes the politics of difference enacted by specific place-based ethnic and environmental movements in the context of neoliberal globalization. This book offers an ethnographic account of Proceso de Comunidades Negras (PCN's) visions, strategies, and practices, and chronicles and analyzes the movement's struggles for autonomy, and territory.

Publisher Description

In Territories of Difference, Arturo Escobar, author of the widely debated book Encountering Development, analyzes the politics of difference enacted by specific place-based ethnic and environmental movements in the context of neoliberal globalization. His analysis is based on his many years of engagement with a group of Afro-Colombian activists of Colombia's Pacific rainforest region, the Proceso de Comunidades Negras (PCN). Escobar offers a detailed ethnographic account of PCN's visions, strategies, and practices, and he chronicles and analyzes the movement's struggles for autonomy, territory, justice, and cultural recognition. Yet he also does much more. Consistently emphasizing the value of local activist knowledge for both understanding and social action and drawing on multiple strands of critical scholarship, Escobar proposes new ways for scholars and activists to examine and apprehend the momentous, complex processes engulfing regions such as the Colombian Pacific today.
Escobar illuminates many interrelated dynamics, including the Colombian government's policies of development and pluralism that created conditions for the emergence of black and indigenous social movements and those movements' efforts to steer the region in particular directions. He examines attempts by capitalists to appropriate the rainforest and extract resources, by developers to set the region on the path of modernist progress, and by biologists and others to defend this incredibly rich biodiversity “hot-spot” from the most predatory activities of capitalists and developers. He also looks at the attempts of academics, activists, and intellectuals to understand all of these complicated processes. Territories of Difference is Escobar's effort to think with Afro-Colombian intellectual-activists who aim to move beyond the limits of Eurocentric paradigms as they confront the ravages of neoliberal globalization and seek to defend their place-based cultures and territories.

Review
“A wonderful, massive tour de force by one of today's leading anthropologists. Arturo Escobar links his ethnography to a series of larger pressing debates about globalization and development, biology and nature, and social movements and network theory. The result is a book of astonishing virtuosity, range, and insight. It is nothing less than a model for the dense, interdisciplinary, polyglot theoretical analysis needed to understand experience anywhere in the world today.” Orin Starn, author of Ishi's Brain: In Search of America's Last “Wild” Indian and co-editor of The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics "Arturo Escobar's eloquent, engaged, and extremely well-informed narrative of the Afro-Colombian movements in their struggles to defend their territories and ways of life is, to my mind, the best book on social movements to have appeared in years. It combines the minutely traced complexity of the struggles and their evolving contexts with much broader issues that appeal to and impact all of us, such as biodiversity, alternatives to development, sustainability of life on earth, and social and cognitive justice. We— academics, students, activists of social movements—cannot but be powerfully interpellated by this landmark book, and can only honor it by reading it attentively."—Boaventura de Sousa Santos, editor of Another Knowledge Is Possible: Beyond Northern Epistemologies “This book invites us all into alternative projects of world making. Never losing sight of the forces pushing back at us or the colonizing power of Western thinking, Arturo Escobar marshals an extraordinary array of intellectual resources and social networks to galvanize hopeful action. He grounds his honest yet truly inspiring vision in the place-based knowledge and global activism of his longstanding collaborators, the resilient and resourceful Afro-Colombian activists of the Pacific region.”—J. K. Gibson-Graham, authors of A Postcapitalist Politics “The product of a lifetime's work on the pitfalls of development, Arturo Escobar's new book is an engaging and engaged effort to bring together knowledge from Western academia and from Afro-Colombian activists. Through his own blend of discursive theory, he makes academia listen, in the words of one of his local interlocutors, to the 'drumming' of a place subjected to capital but resistant to it, brightly illuminating at once the geopolitics of knowledge and of modern empires.”—Fernando Coronil, author of The Magical State: Nature, Money, and Modernity in Venezuela “Arturo Escobar links his ethnography to a series of larger pressing debates about globalization and development, biology and nature, and social movements and network theory. The result is nothing less than a model for the dense, interdisciplinary, polyglot theoretical analysis needed to understand experience anywhere in the world today.”—Orin Starn, author of Ishi's Brain: In Search of America's Last “Wild” Indian “Territories of Difference confronts the theoretical and empirical complexities of capitalism, identities, and political struggle. This book will quickly become required reading for everyone interested in contemporary forms of globalization and the social movements organized against them.”—Lawrence Grossberg, Morris Davis Distinguished Professor of Communication Studies and Cultural Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Author Biography

Arturo Escobar is a professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is author of the influential book “Encountering Development-The Making and Unmaking of the Third World”. His recent research has focused on the intersection among development, capital, and social movements in the Colombian Pacific region. Specifically, he is concerned with looking in the context of the transnational debates on rainforest political ecology and biodiversity conservation.

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Territories of Difference: Place, Movements, Life, Redes

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