Who's the Expert? Ethnography, Participation, and State Formation in Ecuador in the Twenty-first Century
This master thesis explores the relationship between ethnography, participation, and state formation in Ecuador in the twenty-first century. The analysis is based on participant observation of public forums held in 2015 which discussed the contents of a draft version of the Land Law. This thesis makes three inter-related arguments: first, the Ecuadorian state is back through the enactment of participatory democracy, and the discursive practices around state-led food sovereignty projects, which ultimately aim to empower the state by increasing its control over land and agricultural production. Second, participants of the forums acknowledge the return of the state but also exert their expertise by questioning the very knowledge, authority, and expertise of state legislators. Third, political ethnography is key for understanding the porous relationships between civil-society and the state in Latin America, which is increasingly becoming fuzzy with social movement actors transitioning into state official roles in the past decade.
Sociology; Latin American studies; Ecuador; ethnography; participatory institutions; state-society relations; Political science
Wolford, Wendy W.
McMichael, Philip David
M.S., Development Sociology
Master of Science
dissertation or thesis