Contesting projections of inauthenticity: Kendra McSweeney, Brad Jokisch, ‘Native Amazonians’ Strategic Urbanization: Shaping Territorial Possibilities through Cities’, The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, 20, 1, 2015, 13–33
Abstract: This article draws from disparate ethnographic sources to point to the ways in which the urbanization of Amazonia’s native populations is interconnected with their political struggle for rights to territory. This counterintuitive dynamic deserves greater attention, particularly because recent policy texts on indigenous urbanization obscure its possibility. Specifically, this work shows that, in Amazonia: (1) the migration chains linking remote cities to indigenous homelands have often been forged by indigenous leaders who make geographical leaps to sites of state power to pursue demands for territorial recognition; (2) urban living can serve to politicize indigenous urbanites in ways that have long-term consequences for their territorial struggles; and (3) the circulation of native peoples between cities and homelands can maintain and distribute these political effects across space and through time. By drawing attention to these dynamics, this article aims to resist the ways in which indigenous land dispossession could be justified by policy texts’ framing of indigenous urbanization as generic, inevitable, and ultimately disempowering to natives’ territorial positions.
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