Introduction: Vivir bien/Buen vivir and post-neoliberall development paths in Latin America: scope, strategies, and the realities of implementation

Artaraz, Kepa, Calestani, Melania and Trueba, Mei L (2021) Introduction: Vivir bien/Buen vivir and post-neoliberall development paths in Latin America: scope, strategies, and the realities of implementation. Latin American Perspectives, 48 (3). pp. 4-16. ISSN 0094-582X

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Neoliberalism has economic, political, sociocultural, and environmental consequences that are known to cause imbalances across the globe (Navarro, 2020). The financial crisis that began in 2008 in the economic centers of the Global North has been steadily spreading to low- and middle-income countries, including much of Latin America. Political leaders around the world are unable to confront the contradictions of market-led forms of development that deepen socioeconomic inequalities while unsustainably extracting the natural resources required to maintain consumption-driven forms of economic growth. At the same time, economic growth appears to be the prerequisite for responding to immediate local needs and bringing social groups and entire countries out of poverty. Awareness of and resistance to the structural inconsistencies of the neoliberal globalization project at the margins, led by people from countries at the so-called periphery of the world system, had already emerged in the crisis of the 1980s (Wallerstein, 1984). This was a resistance that sometimes emerged from civil society rather than being led by traditional political and economic elites (Petras, 2011).

Having survived the lost decade of the 1980s and beyond, Latin America perfectly illustrates the crisis of legitimacy of the neoliberal revolution and the sociopolitical counterrevolution of civil-society-led alternatives. It is in this context that we are witnessing innovative ideas emerge from communities and subjects that have historically been economically, politically, and culturally marginalized. Latin America’s upheaval and contestation have their roots in indigenous epistemologies—epistemologies of the South (Santos, 2015)—and practices. Where indigenous groups have become a newly empowered political subject (Postero, 2006), as in Bolivia, the repercussions of these political transitions include the incorporation of indigenous knowledge and practices into the roadmap for alternative, “refounded” (Artaraz, 2012) versions of these societies. As a result, both Bolivia and Ecuador have seen the introduction of indigenous concepts of vivir bien (living well) or buen vivir (good living) into their constitutions, national development plans, and public policies. When the concept of vivir bien was added to these constitutions, possibilities were opened for countries around the region to experiment with the meaning of sumak kawsay/buen vivir and suma qamaña/vivir bien and the ways in which a range of understandings of these terms could be translated into policy (Asamblea Constituyente, 2008). Versions of the concept have also gained salience in other Latin American countries, from Venezuela to Nicaragua.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Global Health and Infection
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2021 09:14
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2021 18:03

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