9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN07 Sociology of Culture

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Cultural and National Identities Building II, C4.06

Concepts of Identity in a pluricultural nation - the case of Ecuador

Since the 1990s, the definition of identity has become a central part of the politics and demands of Ecuadorian social movements, syndicates and political parties. The most radical proposals come from one of the biggest indigenous organizations, the Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (CONAIE), which holds the idea of interculturalism and plurinationalism as it is reflected - in part - by the Constitution of 2008. Some concepts - especially the concept of multiculturalism - are rejected as Eurocentric or transformed into ideas perceived as indigenous. But the CONAIE itself is a quite pluralistic organization with at times contradictory opinions, so it seems difficult to find a unique political position. Nevertheless, it serves as an ideological avant-garde which influenced the politics of the traditional and especially the new populist movements like the government party Alianza PAIS.
In this presentation, I would like to explain the different ways of constructing identity in Ecuador. Although the question of identity started as an indigenous one, it became a topic every political actor has to treat with. In this way, it will be possible to give an insight in the political culture of Ecuador and to establish analogies to the situation in Europe itself. The presented conclusions are drawn from interviews with political actors, newspapers and magazines and some previous studies on the identity politics in Ecuador.