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Contesting State Multiculturalisms: Indigenous Land Struggles in Eastern Panama

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 October 2006

LYNN HORTON
Affiliation:
Chapman University.

Abstract

This article examines the implications of Latin America's recent wave of state-embraced multiculturalism for the region's indigenous peoples, arguing that state recognition of indigenous difference is not inevitably empowering for indigenous groups or transformative of nation-states. It utilises data from fieldwork with the Kuna Indians of eastern Panama in order to delineate more precisely the contexts and strategies of indigenous peoples which may serve to push outwards more constrained forms of institutional multiculturalism. It explores the links between Panama's historical nationalist project, contemporary state multiculturalism and ethnically specific forms of mobilisation for land rights and autonomy. It also examines the transformative potential of multiculturalism in the context of the simultaneous implementation of global economic and cultural projects of neoliberalism.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2006 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

The research for this article was part of a broader fieldwork project carried out in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama which explored concepts and practices of sustainable development. The author gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and thanks Antonio Ugalde, Bryan Roberts and three anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier drafts. Any errors are the sole responsibility of the author.

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