Ayni Real and Imagined

Reciprocity, Indigenous Institutions, and Development Discourses in Contemporary Bolivia

Amber Wutich, Melissa Beresford, Cinthia Carvajal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The last decade has seen a major shift in Bolivian politics, marked by a rejection of neoliberal governance and the ascendency of indigenous activism. Ayni (Quechua, “reciprocity”) has come to represent new possibilities for Bolivia's nascent socioeconomic order. We explore the role that NGOs play in the promotion of ayni as an alternative model of development. Drawing on historical analysis of ayni, this article compares NGO's ayni rhetoric and reciprocity as practiced in communities. We find, first, that NGO discourses around ayni both broaden and weaken the concept and, second, that they reenvision ayni in ways that are more compatible with new reciprocal practices linked to commercialization and evangelization occurring in these communities. We conclude that ayni, as reenvisioned in development discourses, helps NGOs strike a balance among the different currents of social change—economic, political, and religious—that have so profoundly changed Bolivia over the last thirty years. [alternative development, alternative economies, Andes, Bolivia, development, reciprocity, social anthropology].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-494
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

Fingerprint

Bolivia
reciprocity
non-governmental organization
discourse
alternative economy
cultural anthropology
historical analysis
commercialization
community
rhetoric
promotion
governance
politics

Keywords

  • alternativas al capitalismo
  • alternativas al desarrollo
  • antropología social
  • Bolivia
  • desarollo
  • los Andes
  • reciprocidad

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology

Cite this

Ayni Real and Imagined : Reciprocity, Indigenous Institutions, and Development Discourses in Contemporary Bolivia. / Wutich, Amber; Beresford, Melissa; Carvajal, Cinthia.

In: Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, Vol. 22, No. 3, 01.11.2017, p. 475-494.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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