Mariagiulia Costanzo (Latin American Studies, Università della Calabria) – An indigenous perspective of change: “el Vivir bien”: The Bolivian case

    The neoliberal system has caused many changes in our society; the current crisis, in its various forms, is a striking symbol. The damage seems to be unsustainable and many scholars agree in supporting a transformation of the production model, from the industrial point of view and the social one. The movements of resistance to globalization suggest to go back to a model that respects cultural differences and identities. Through mobilization, indigenous communities have shown political, symbolic and concrete value of land and food, discussing the whole system of dominant model and giving a central role to Earth.

    In Bolivia social movements came to the government with the election of an indigenous (the first one in the history of Latin America), Evo Morales, who, incorporating the “weak party” of Bolivian people, gave voice to the  indigenous strength and to their worldview based on a sacral dimension of territory and nature. The indigenous-campesinos movements managed to redefine the agricultural policies and to introduce in the new Constitution of 2009 themes such as Vivir Bien and food sovereignty.

    This contribution wants to show how “el Horizonte del Vivir Bien” could be an indigenous model of change. Based on the ancient cosmovision of natives, the concept of Suma Qamaña (in aymara language), that is Vivir Bien, means “living well’ or “a full life” and it expresses the perfect harmony of living in equilibrium with nature and in the respect of Pachamama (Mother Earth).

    The Vivir Bien breaks with traditional concept of development and put at centre the relationship to nature. It is an agroecological model to solve the environmental issue and the global economic crisis; an innovative model above all from the social point of view, that promotes biodiversity and development of territory in a natural and equal way.