Alexandria Digital Research Library

The Pachamama worldview in the Ecuadorian urban ayllu network : Mashi identity and resistance in early 21st-century Quito

Caal, Cosme Francisco
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Sociology
Degree Supervisor:
Kum-Kum Bhavnani and John Foran
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Sociology, Social Structure and Development, and Latin American Studies
Sumak kawsay
Ethnic identity
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2014

Political mobilization by Ecuadorian mashikuna or indigenous pueblos and nations culminated nationwide in the 1990 uprising whereby the Ecuadorian president was overthrown. This political maneuver was orchestrated by coalitions of different sectors of Ecuadorian society. Mashikuna national networks mobilized effectively to block transportation and commerce, backed by mestizo elite and working sectors, and military leadership, with the help of rank and file. Rising national discontent with neoliberal policy implementation in the late 1980's fueled alliances against corrupted political leadership.

Shifts in national political and cultural identity were fueled by popular projects of interculturalism whereby linguistic, ethnic, and ideological differences were encouraged and openly observed. As of 2007, the Ecuadorian constitution officially acknowledges the concept of mother earth as a living being. It also recognizes Pachamama worldview concepts such as sumak kawsay, or well-being, as underpinnings of a sustaining way of life. Better chances at self-determination and communal development became available during these social shifts in Ecuador. As migration to Quito and other large cities continued in this century, ayllu networks grew dramatically in predominantly mashi districts like San Roque, just south of Old Town Quito.

San Roque provides mashi ayllu networks a degree of autonomy to develop influential political, economic, and spiritual coalitions according to their sumak kawsay. An autonomous space to practice it has always been available to mashikuna for it is essential to their continuance and identity. However, in the 21st century ayllu the practice of sumak kawsay, mashi identity, and their resistance against inequality takes place within an empowered position unparalleled in recent history.

Despite migration to urban centers, outside cultural and technological influence, religious shifts, and continuing racism, mashi continue to live in solidarity with one another, according to the Pachamama worldview. The San Roque network in Quito is an example of how Ecuadorian urban ayllu networks acculturate while maintaining a core identity that entails complex political and economic ties.

To understand the everyday practice of Pachamama worldview is essential to understand Ecuadorian indigenous identity and political mobilization in the 21st century. Sumak kawsay provides political, spiritual and economic support for ayllus that are have no government support. The importance of sumak kawsay in the life of mashikuna explains their unwavering resistance against neoliberal projects of individualism and the destruction of the environment for profit.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (252 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Cosme Caal
File Description
Access: Public access
Caal_ucsb_0035D_12198.pdf pdf (Portable Document Format)