Disrupting the patrón: Reworking spaces of dispossession and the politics of recognition in indigenous struggles for justice

Authors: Joel Correia*, University of Arizona Center for Latin American Studies
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Cultural Geography, Indigenous Peoples
Keywords: Indigenous rights, territory, environmental justice, legal geography, Latin America
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Grand Ballroom B, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Drawing from ethnographic research on the politics of Inter-American Court of Human Rights judgments in the Paraguayan Chaco, this talk examines how ethno-governmental projects come with no guarantees. Despite efforts by Enxet and Sanapana peoples to comport themselves as law-abiding indigenous subjects, the Paraguayan state persistently denied each community’s land claims, exacerbating dispossession and human rights violations while creating spaces that challenge liberal governance. In this presentation, I examine how the spaces produced by dispossession, and dispossession itself, have become tools that drive Enxet and Sanapana political claims. I consider how historic patterns of patrón-peon relations are embodied in state-indigenous relations to argue that Enxet and Sanapana peoples are reworking dispossession to create a new territorial politics that disrupts the patrón—as power relation and pattern. Instead of seeking autonomy from the state, the three communities create conditions that force the state to govern in efforts to ensure their rights. Disrupting the patrón rewrites the terms of indigeneity in Paraguay by making state officials reconcile with new articulations of Enxet and Sanapana self-determination bolstered by international indigenous rights law. Examining the three Enxet and Sanapana cases studies suggest it is time to rethink the politics of neoliberal multiculturalism in Latin America today.

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