Peasants, Culture and Indigenous Peoples: Critical Issues by Rodolfo Stavenhagen

By Rodolfo Stavenhagen

This final quantity in a trilogy released at the party of the eightieth birthday of Rodolfo Stavenhagen, professor emeritus of El Colegio de Mexico, comprises 8 essays on Peasants, tradition and Indigenous Peoples: severe concerns; simple wishes, Peasants and the method for Rural improvement (1976); Cultural Rights: a Social technology point of view (1998); The constitution of Injustice: Poverty, Marginality, Exclusion and Human Rights (2000); what sort of Yarn? From colour Line to Multicolored Hammock: Reflections on Racism and Public coverage (2001); The United countries particular Rapporteur at the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2012); A document at the Human Rights scenario of Indigenous Peoples in Asia (2007); record at the effect of Megaprojects at the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2003); and examine in regards to the most sensible Practices to enforce the techniques of the distinctive Rapporteur (2007). those texts handle human rights concerns, specifically those who arose whilst Stavenhagen used to be servinged as United international locations certain rapporteur at the rights of indigenous peoples.

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All human beings are equal; no matter what distinguishes them, they have the same rights. Yet, when we speak of the respect for different values as being essential to the concept of collective cultural rights, does that very distinctions not imply a rejection of universality in order to recognize the specificities of different social groups? 4 Cultural Diversity and Universal Human Rights 37 culturally distinct groups and peoples. Unless the debate on cultural rights acknowledges the particular issues relevant to each cultural group, we may only be talking about meaningless abstractions.

Following from this critique, recent scholarship treats culture as something that is constantly constructed, reconstructed, invented and reinvented by ever-changing subjects; the emphasis here is on the way people perceive and speak about their culture, rather than on the culture itself (which by this criterion would have no objective existence outside of the individual’s subjectivity). Customs and traditions are inherent elements of all observable cultures, yet traditions are constantly being invented and reinvented, and customs, by which people carry on their daily lives, regularly change to conform to varying historical circumstances, even as they strive to maintain social continuity.

The world’s peasantries are thus by no means marginalized or isolated vestiges of pre-capitalist economies. They cannot be written off simply because the theories of modernization or of capitalist development tell us that they should have disappeared long ago. 7 Strategies of development have generally by-passed the peasantry. They focus on the modern farmer, the agricultural entrepreneur, the so-called rural middle class. Even countries that have carried out land reforms do little, in the nonsocialist world, for their peasantries once land has been redistributed.

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