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Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(2), 434-458; doi:10.3390/socsci4020434

Imagined Borders: (Un)Bounded Spaces of Oil Extraction and Indigenous Sociality in “Post-Neoliberal” Ecuador

Department of Environmental Studies, University of California, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
Department of Anthropology, Stanford University, 450 Serra Mall, Main Quad, Building 50, Stanford, CA 94305-2034, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Joanna Swanger
Received: 3 May 2015 / Revised: 4 June 2015 / Accepted: 5 June 2015 / Published: 10 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cross-Border Movements and Subjectivities in a Globalized World)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [257 KB, uploaded 10 June 2015]


In this paper, we analyze state practices of border-making through an ethnographic focus on Ecuadorian Amazonia and the Waorani, an Indigenous society, who, before sustained contact with the outside world began in 1958, possessed stark spatial and social borders often reinforced through warfare. Following that contact and the creation of various iterations of a legally-demarcated Waorani territory, the spatial and social borders of Waorani culture, based on a common property regime, came into conflict with the borders produced by the state in cooperation with transnational capitalism in the form of the oil industry. We discuss how these shifting borders led to cascading effects on Waorani reciprocity, their relationship to natural resources, sense of security and designation of membership in the community. Finally, we discuss how the leftist Ecuadorian state under President Rafael Correa justifies and facilitates the country’s oil-focused spatial processes through a post-neoliberal discourse. View Full-Text
Keywords: common property; petroleum extraction; post-neoliberalism; borders; Waorani; Amazon; Ecuador common property; petroleum extraction; post-neoliberalism; borders; Waorani; Amazon; Ecuador
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Lu, F.E.; Silva, N.L. Imagined Borders: (Un)Bounded Spaces of Oil Extraction and Indigenous Sociality in “Post-Neoliberal” Ecuador. Soc. Sci. 2015, 4, 434-458.

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