In the Shadow of Recognition: Conflict, Identity and Resources in the Andes


Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 12:00pm to 2:00pm


CGIS South, S250, 1730 Cambridge Street

Lorenza FontanaSpeaker: Lorenza B. Fontana, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow, Weatherhead Scholars Program. Research Associate, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Politics and International Studies, Open University

Moderator: Steven Levitsky, Professor of Government at Harvard University

What are the effects of identity politics on social justice? How do these politics impact multiethnic societies and communities beyond the specific groups they target? And how have they travelled across country borders? This paper looks at what happens after ethnic rights have been granted, while issues of social justice remain unsettled. It tells stories of conflicts between rural poor (particularly indigenous and peasant groups) over land, resources and service provisions, emerging as a result of the implantation of different kinds of identity policies. In tension with mainstream interpretations of the politics of recognition as triggers of social justice and emancipation for traditionally marginalized sectors, I show how these politics can generate new types of conflicts, which are at times violent, as well as questionable outcomes in terms of inclusion. To develop this argument, I rely on extensive field research in three countries in the Andean region – Bolivia, Peru and Colombia - that have been pioneers in the implementation of the recognition agenda in Latin America and worldwide.

Lorenza Fontana is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. Upon the conclusion of her fellowship, she will start an Assistant Professorship in International Politics at Newcastle University, UK. Her recent work has appeared in World Development, Global Governance, Latin American Perspectives, Environment and Planning D, and Journal of Peasant Studies, among others. She also co-authored the book La Protesta Social en América Latina (Siglo XXI/UNDP, 2012) and co-edited the volume Demanding Justice in the Global South: Claiming Rights (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).