Until recently, the concept of Buen Vivir has only been loosely articulated by practising communities and in progressive policy in countries like Ecuador. What it actually means has been unclear, and in the case of policy, contradictory. As such there has been a lack of understanding about exactly what Buen Vivir entails, its core principles and how to put it into practice. This book, based on extensive theoretical and field research of Buen Vivir as an alternative to sustainable development, fills that gap and offers a concrete way forward. It uses an ethnographic study in Cotacachi County, in Ecuador's highland communities, to explore how communities understand and practice Buen Vivir. Combining this with what we already know about the concept theoretically, the book then develops a framework for Buen Vivir with 17 principles for practice.
Exploring Buen Vivir's evolution from its indigenous origins, academic interpretations, and implications for development policy, to its role in endogenous, community-led change, this book will be of interest to policy-makers and development professionals. It will also be of great value to activists, students, and scholars of sustainability and development seeking grassroots social and environmental change.
Natasha Chassagne is an Adjunct Research Fellow at Swinburne University of Technology's Centre for Social Impact, Australia. Natasha's doctoral research looked at the viability of Buen Vivir as an alternative to Sustainable Development. Natasha is a political scientist by training in international law and international relations, specialising in human rights and environmental law. She has worked as a Sustainability Consultant, and writes and researches on sustainability, wellbeing, and climate change issues.
Introduction Part 1 1. The Brief History of Development and Sustainable Development 2. Towards an Alternative to Development: The Growing Legitimacy of Post-Development 3. Sustaining the 'Good Life': Buen Vivir as an Alternative to Sustainable Development Part 2 4. Understandings of Buen Vivir in Ecuador's Cotacachi Canton 5. Living Well and Buen Vivir: Practice vs. Policy? 6. Challenging the Good Life 7. Rethinking Sustainability: Making the Global Align with the Local 8. Implementing Buen Vivir: The Practical Pathway to Transformation 9. New Horizons for Socio-Eco Wellbeing: Concluding Remarks