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Working Paper No. 07/2009

UCL Anthropology Working Papers Series

Department of Anthropology
University College London
14 Taviton Street, London
WC1H 0BW, U.K.


ISSN 1759-6688
Editorial Board: Sara Randall, Martin Holbraad

Working Paper No. 07/2009
Published online November 27, 2009
© Copyright rests with the authors


PROTECTIONISTS AND THE GUARANÍ: THE VILLAGE THAT DID NOT EXIST
SOCIO-ENVIRONMENTAL CONFLICT IN SOUTHERN BRAZIL

CAROLINA COMANDULLI

Dissertation submitted in 2008 for the MSc Anthropology and Ecology of Development

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ABSTRACT

The adoption of the 'Yellowstone model' throughout the world during the 20th century provoked the expulsion of traditional populations from their territories. Displaced people often became impoverished and had their social fabric destroyed. Despite criticisms of that model, it continues to be adopted as a solution for wildlife conservation in many parts of the world.

The 1988 Brazilian Constitution granted indigenous peoples original rights to their territories. Nonetheless, the Guaraní inhabiting the Atlantic Rainforest are in dispute over their ancestral lands with parks under strict protection. The debate unfolds between institutions and organizations arguing that the Guaraní are a threat to the environment and those who think they can be allies in the preservation of nature.

This study looks at the Itapuã people-park conflict in Southern Brazil. The Guaraní claim Itapuã Park area as their traditional territory, but their right has been denied. I asked what are the obstacles preventing that dispute from reaching a solution benefiting both cultural and natural diversity. The obstacles identified were the adoption of a protectionist approach to conservation by environmental policy-makers, followed by a critical lack of knowledge about the Guaraní, and the ambiguities from the legal framework regulating indigenous rights and environmental protection.


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