Title: Social capital, ecotourism, and empowerment in Shiripuno, Ecuador
Authors: Annie A. Marcinek; Carter A. Hunt
Addresses: Recreation, Park and Tourism Management, The Pennsylvania State University, 801 Ford Building, University Park, PA 16803, USA ' Recreation, Park and Tourism Management, The Pennsylvania State University, 801 Ford Building, University Park, PA 16803, USA
Abstract: Indigenous communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon have struggled for a sustainable, long-term development path since the entrance of large, foreign-owned oil companies to the area in the 1970s. Ecotourism may offer a sustainable development option for indigenous communities that have been exploited by extractive industry. This paper describes rapid ethnographic research carried out in the indigenous Amazonian community of Shiripuno, Ecuador. It argues that social capital, termed by some as the 'missing link' to development, was stimulated by the initiation of a community-based ecotourism project. Prior scholarship suggest a theoretical framework supported here that demonstrates how increased inter and intracommunity relationships and communication pathways provided a solid base for future sustainable development of this community. The ecotourism project's roots in an indigenous women's association offers a space for considering the connection between social capital and gender empowerment, and the potential this connection provides in machismo-dominated societies.
Keywords: community-based ecotourism; social capital; gender empowerment; Amazon; indigenous peoples; Ecuador; indigenous communities; sustainable development; sustainability; women; female empowerment; machismo.
International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 2015 Vol.4 No.4, pp.327 - 342
Received: 05 Jun 2014
Accepted: 28 Feb 2015
Published online: 02 Jan 2016 *