Contractual reciprocity and the re-making of community hydrosocial territories : The case of la chimba in the ecuadorian páramos

Manosalvas, Rossana; Hoogesteger, Jaime; Boelens, Rutgerd


In the Andes, indigenous communities are being increasingly besieged because their páramos act as water providers for cities and irrigation systems downstream. This has led indigenous communities to protect their hydrosocial territories from external actors and re-create them to contest these threats. In this context, we analyse how the Kayambi community of La Chimba in the northern Sierra of Ecuador has managed to defend and secure its hydrosocial territory through the creation and re-creation of its indigenous identity and networks and related cultural politics that find expression in different forms of contractual reciprocity. As a result, the community hydrosocial territory (re)-creation itself is a weapon of resistance, a decolonising process where rural communities continuously can produce their own forms of development. This is particularly important in a context where governments in the region are relying on extractivism and in the explotation of indigenous territories.