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Guarani-Kaiowa's political ontology: singular because common

Ioris, Antonio A. R. ORCID: 2022. Guarani-Kaiowa's political ontology: singular because common. Cultural Studies 36 (4) , pp. 668-692. 10.1080/09502386.2021.1913200

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The article seeks to discuss the political perspective of indigenous peoples in their effort to resist aggression and reclaim back land and opportunities lost to development. The very general and the highly specific condition of indigenous groups in today’s market-based globalization is directly connected with the growing interest of social scientists in the ontological turn, which entails critical interrogations of reductionist assumptions about ‘what exists’ and novel ways of questioning contested realities. The ontological turn is a re-evaluation of Western-centric conceptualisations of the world and an attempt to move beyond essentialist positions. The flourishing debate on political ontology informs an examination of the tragic socio-spatial experience of the Guarani-Kaiowa of South America, a relatively large indigenous people who had more than 99% of their land grabbed and struggle to resist genocidal pressures and systemic racism. The research investigated how the Guarani-Kaiowa mustered sufficient strength in recent decades to fight a battle that many considered hopeless. Empirical evidences demonstrate that the Guarani-Kaiowa, despite major challenges, have obtained some small, but significant political victories because of coordinated efforts to retain a social and spatial distinctiveness. Crucially, what has made the Guarani-Kaiowa unique is how perceived and charged social differences are mobilised according to the political goals of different groups (indigenous and non-indigenous) and in relation to a spatial setting that is simultaneously lost, desired and anticipated. If the socio-spatial characteristics of the Guarani-Kaiowa were regularly manipulated to render them invisible from a development perspective and to justify the appropriation of indigenous land and other illegal and racist practices by the national state and business sectors, at the same time their own singularisation was their best hope of resistance and the main force that allowed them to continue hoping for a better life and ethnic survival.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 0950-2386
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 April 2021
Date of Acceptance: 1 April 2021
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2024 19:13

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