Indigenous Socio-Economic Change, Health and Well-Being in the Amazon

Research Team Seminar

November 9–10, 2010

Indigenous Socio-Economic Change, Health, and Well-Being in the AmazonIndigenous Socio-Economic Change, Health, and Well-Being in the AmazonResearch Team Seminar co-chaired by Flora Lu, Assistant Professor, Department of Latin American and Latino Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz and Mark Sorensen, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, November 9–10, 2010.Indigenous Socio-Economic Change, Health, and Well-Being in the AmazonResearch Team Seminar co-chaired by Flora Lu, Assistant Professor, Department of Latin American and Latino Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz and Mark Sorensen, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, November 9–10, 2010.

This research team seminar focused on the health impacts of market economies on indigenous peoples, an area where surprisingly few large-scale comparative studies or theory development have been undertaken. Studying a range of health measures in a cross-cultural sample of four indigenous Amazonian groups—the Kichwa, Cofán, Waorani, and Shuar—experiencing different levels of market participation, “our research aims are to investigate variation in health, and to examine the mechanisms through which market integration influences health through reciprocity networks, mobility, diet, and access to and use of medical care,” said the co-chairs. “How do diverse populations of Native Amazonians relate to each other and the natural environment in a time of rapid economic change catalyzed by forces such as tourism, petroleum exploitation, and urbanization? How do these populations make tradeoffs, seek opportunities, and adapt to markets?”

In addition to theoretical significance, the project is timely and has real world importance. “Indigenous market integration can intensify land and resource use patterns, disrupt patterns of reciprocity and social inter-dependence, encourage mobility outside the community, alter dietary patterns and nutritional status, and lead to changing aspirations and increased stressors,” said the co-chairs.

“The purpose of the seminar was to provide focused time for the research team to compile and discuss the project findings and begin plans for publication and dissemination of results. It was very useful and occurred at a key juncture for our project, the period in which data collection was complete, preliminary results analyzed, and group input needed for interpretation and next steps,” reported the co-chairs.

Flora Lu, Chair Assistant Professor, Department of Latin American and Latino Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
Mark Sorensen, Chair Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Dayuma Alban Independent Scholar, Quito, Ecuador
Kati Alvarez Project Coordinator, Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Citlali Doljanin Ethnographer, Quito, Ecuador
David Hidrobo Ethnographer, Quito, Ecuador
Paul Leslie Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Ana Isabel Oña Project Administrator, Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Bram Tucker Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Georgia

Sponsored by National Science Foundation

Follow us: