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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Re-animating Andean worlds : kamayoq, the politics of 'culturally appropriate' knowledge extension, and ethnodevelopment in the Peruvian Andes Yates, Julian Sebastian


This dissertation positions the kamayoq of the Southern Peruvian Andes (Sierra Sur) within the context of globalized ethnodevelopment networks. Contemporary kamayoq are indigenous, community-based specialists who act as “transcultural bridges” within a “culturally appropriate” methodology of campesino-a-campesino (farmer-to-farmer) knowledge transfer. Building on the results of a follow-the-thing methodology (deployed across fourteen months of multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork), I use the case of the kamayoq to develop a critique of ethnodevelopment – a notion that encapsulates how development programmes put culture and cultural groups to work in order both to incorporate them within broader development trajectories, and to protect them from some of the negative effects of such participation. I draw on – and contribute to – relevant debates in political economy, political ecology, development studies, and Andean studies to make a series of empirical and theoretical contributions. I conduct a Polanyian historical analysis of how the kamayoq have supported economic integration across different modes of production and forms of governance (since the fifteenth century). I develop a contemporary analysis of how ethnodevelopment programmes construct the kamayoq as ‘ethnic experts’ and ethno-entrepreneurial subjects within a new rural economy of Peru, thereby transforming a dynamic form of Andean learning-by-doing (aprender hacer) – as embodied by the kamayoq – into a form of ‘ethnic expertise’ on display (saber hacer). The recent government programme of certifying the competencies of the kamayoq according to national standards further acts as a kind of Foucauldian ethnodevelopmental dispositif, as it conducts the conduct of the kamayoq. Reflecting on these findings, I explore whether the kamayoq contribute to a uniquely Andean form of economic organization (‘Andinidad’; characterized by reciprocity, collectiveness, and communal ownership); I position this discussion in relation to Peruvian scholarship on decolonizing development. Finally, I develop a political economy-inflected ‘intimate ecology’ of the role the kamayoq play in connecting alpaca genetic reproduction networks in the Andes, thereby entering debates around multiple ontologies and Andean living worlds. I present the notion of a ‘vital economy’ as a way of understanding the links between economic production, genetic reproduction, and the ‘re-wilding’ of alpacas in order to maintain species vitality.

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