Title: How to integrate socio-cultural dimensions into sustainable development: Amazonian case studies

Authors: Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen; Sanni Saarinen; Matti Kamppinen

Addresses: Department of World Cultures, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 59, Helsinki FIN-00014, Finland ' Department of World Cultures, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 59, Helsinki FIN-00014, Finland ' Department of Cultural Studies, University of Turku, Turku FIN-20014, Finland

Abstract: The best means of integrating socio-cultural dimensions into the study and politics of sustainable development are through the ethnographic analysis of cultural models and patterns of behaviour. This is particularly mandatory in those contexts where the perception of reality is radically different from the Western point of view. We illustrate how the understanding of the Amazonian embodied thinking about relating to other subjects helps to comprehend their sustainable lifestyles and interaction within a natural environment. Through their bodies, the Amazonian native peoples and mestizos try to control and form a subjectivity that today is reflected in their striving to have better education, contemporary rites of passage and new skills that are appreciated when learned in their interaction with the dominant society. This means that the 'traditional' cultural models and patterns of behaviour are reproduced in interaction with new non-native actors, and the conditions for sustainable development consequently change.

Keywords: Amazonia; Amazon rainforest; jungles; forests; Brazil; Peru; Colombia; Venezuela; Ecuador; Bolivia; Guyana; Suriname; French Guiana; indigenous peoples; mestizo populations; subjectivity; control; environmental relationships; natural environment; socio-cultural dimensions; ethnographic analysis; cultural models; behaviour patterns; ethnography; perception; reality; embodied thinking; integration; sustainable lifestyles; native peoples; interaction; mestizos; education; rites of passage; new skills; dominant societies; non-native actors; sustainable society; sustainability; sustainable development.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSSOC.2012.047279

International Journal of Sustainable Society, 2012 Vol.4 No.3, pp.226 - 239

Published online: 01 May 2012 *

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