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Pachakutik: Indigenous Movements and Electoral Politics in Ecuador, Critical Currents in Latin American Perspective Series (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2011; updated paperback edition, 2012).

This authoritative book provides a deeply informed overview of one of the most dynamic social movements in Latin America. Focusing on contemporary Indigenous movements in Ecuador, leading scholar Marc Becker traces the growing influence of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), which in 1990 led a powerful uprising that dramatically placed a struggle for Indigenous rights at the center of public consciousness. Activists began to refer to this uprising as a "pachakutik," a Kichwa word that means change, rebirth, and transformation, both in the sense of a return in time and the coming of a new era. Five years later, proponents launched a new political movement called Pachakutik to compete for elected office. In 2006, Ecuadorians elected Rafael Correa, who many saw as emblematic of the new Latin American left, to the presidency of the country. Even though CONAIE, Pachakutik, and Correa shared similar concerns for social justice, they soon came into conflict with each other.

Becker examines the competing strategies and philosophies that emerge when social movements and political parties embrace comparable visions but follow different paths to realize their objectives. In exploring the multiple and conflictive strategies that Indigenous movements have followed over the past twenty years, he definitively documents the recent history and charts the trajectory of one of the Americas' most powerful and best organized social movements. In a new epilogue, Becker examines heightened conflicts over the extraction of natural resources and new challenges to the Correa administration.

“This is a terrific book! Beyond an excellent account of Ecuador's recent political history, Becker provides us with the history of a paradox: how the strongest Indigenous movement in the Americas found itself in campaigns and alliances that served to limit and undermine its political influence. Ideal for courses on Latin American politics and social movements, this book offers a provocative cautionary tale about the dangers of social movement success.”
—José Antonio Lucero, University of Washington

“Becker's rendering of contemporary Ecuadorian politics, Indigenous organizing, and social movements is superb and reflects an insider's knowledge of this country. Moreover, his treatment of the challenges that organizations face when transitioning from social movements to electoral politics makes this book not only ideal for classroom use but also essential reading for those wishing to gain a greater understanding of the recent grassroots democratization campaigns that have reverberated throughout the world.”
—Kenneth Kincaid, Purdue University North Central

Table of Contents

1. The Politicization of Indigenous Identities

2. Uprisings

3. The Emergence of an Electoral Option

4. The Last Coup of the Twentieth Century

5. Indians in Power

6. A Citizen's Revolution

7. Rewriting the Constitution . . . Again

8. 2009 Elections

9. Social Movements and Electoral Politics

Epilogue: The Children of 1990


También disponible en español: ¡Pachakutik! Movimientos indígenas, proyectos políticos y disputas electorales en el Ecuador (Quito: FLACSO/Editorial Abya Yala, 2015).

Marc Becker, The Correa Coup: What Really Happened in Ecuador? (October 19, 2010)

Indians and Leftists in the Making of Ecuador’s Modern Indigenous Movements


Book available for purchase from:

Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative

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