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Title: Social and solidarity economy in pursuit of 'Buen Vivir' in the Andean highlands of Ecuador
Authors: Altamirano-Flores, Jorge Enrique
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: In Ecuador during the last decade a political paradigm known as ‘Buen Vivir’ (BV) has become the cornerstone of a new notion of human wellbeing on which the government has based its policies. Although its genesis comes from an ancient indigenous way of living, ‘Sumak Kawsay’ (SK), the BV concept is continuously evolving and has become a contested subject. In order to implement the BV principles, the Ecuadorian government introduced an alternative economic system known as Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE). The SSE term has been used to describe all kinds of economic activities in which social and environmental objectives are more important than profit. The aim of this study is to investigate to what extent the introduction of the SSE and BV principles can explain the transformations occurred in Ecuador in the last decade, and how these transformations have influenced the lives of the people at the rural community scale. For this, an extensive review of the existing literature and empirical work, in the Andean highlands region, took place. The study draws upon primary data collected in the form of a survey, face-to-face interviews and focus groups with indigenous and non-indigenous populations from villages located in the Tungurahua and Chimborazo provinces, the latter having the highest indigenous population of people in Ecuador. This investigation utilized a mixed method design; thematic analysis was used for the qualitative data and a descriptive analysis for the quantitative data. This study suggests a strong association between the implementation of social policies based on the principles of BV, and a substantial reduction of levels of poverty and inequality in the country. The study also exposes the ambiguous relationship and overlap between BV and SK, which becomes more apparent when the government promotes a liberal agenda that focuses on individual rights. Meanwhile, SK emphasises ancestral thinking, which is eminently collective.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

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