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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 306-317

Limits to Knowledge: Indigenous Peoples, NGOs, and the Moral Economy in the Eastern Amazon of Brazil

1 Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
2 Department of Anthropology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA

Correspondence Address:
Janet Chernela
Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.145149

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Despite widespread recognition of the importance of community-conservation partnerships, problems continue to emerge. In this paper we examine one such interaction to propose that outside organisations have wrongly associated the delimitations of the habitational space with the extent of community allegiances and moral economies. Such oversights can lead to project withdrawal, as they did in one case of an ecotourism proposal among the indigenous Kayapσ of the southeastern Amazon. The case study points to the challenges in the processes of partnering with local villages where histories of fissioning and factioning contain within them their own processual relations and moral obligations. These models, by which people group themselves into communities of loyalty, affectivity, and belonging, may be elusive to outsiders and account for many challenges in local-international collaborations. Western planners are often unprepared for the long reach of relationships relevant to project planning and benefit sharing. We suggest that in order to move forward with effective multi-participant community-based projects, project planners should take into account supra-spatial, and dynamic, moral economies.

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