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The Rights of Nature through the eyes of indigenous peoples: A power analysis in Ecuador
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Governance approaches that foster more nurturing nature-human relationships are needed to reconnect humanity and societal development to the limits of the biosphere. Ecuador has been portrayed as a source of inspiration in its move to grant constitutional rights to nature. This unique constitution builds on the indigenous concept Sumak Kawsay that couples nature and humanity. However, Ecuador’s economy is based on extraction of natural resources, leading to land use conflicts between the indigenous peoples and large energy companies. Building on indepth interviews in Ecuador, this study explores the Rights of Nature (RoN) through the perceptions of indigenous peoples and analyses power relations within its practice. Limited access to knowledge, a source of power that is mobilised by the Ecuadorian state, limits the application of the RoN by indigenous and non-indigenous peoples and hinders the implementation of the RoN by the justice system. For the indigenous peoples, sources of power building on human capital, spiritual beliefs and fundamental human rights were central and identified as means to circumvent barriers to the Ecuadorian justice system. This study argues that (a) as opposed to how the international community depicts the RoN in Ecuador, the RoN are not central to the indigenous peoples’ agenda (b) a deep mistrust towards the Ecuadorian government decreases the legitimacy of the RoN in practice; (c) in a different political setting and future, the RoN could have the potential to serve as a bottom-up and polycentric approach to environmental governance and operate as a boundary object, enabling a co-existence of worldviews in Ecuador; and (d) the example of Ecuador plays an important role in the advancement of RoN globally, but this study shows that it is crucial to contextualise the RoN and include all relevant actors in the process, to ensure a long-term implementation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 63
Keywords [en]
Rights of Nature, governance, indigenous, worldviews, power
National Category
Other Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-157362OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-157362DiVA, id: diva2:1219242
Presentation
2018-06-11, Stockholm Reslience Centre, Stockholm, 14:50 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-06-18 Created: 2018-06-15 Last updated: 2018-06-18Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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Output format
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