College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Full Title of Thesis or Dissertation

The politics of indigenous social struggle in Colombia

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree

International Studies


Arturo Escobar, modernity, indigenous, Colombia, development


The core research question that this thesis asks is: How can we conceptualize the resistance of contemporary indigenous social movements? This thesis argues that Arturo Escobar's ideas about the ways in which social movements can critically engage processes of development best allow us to conceptualize Nasa indigenous social movements of Colombia as resistance to neoliberal globalization. The thesis uses Escobar’s three concepts: alternative development, alternative modernity, and alternatives to modernity as a conceptual lens with which to analyze three projects by the Nasa indigenous people of Colombia: the communitarian economy, the Proyecto Global, and the Tul home garden project. The thesis finds that the communitarian economy can be characterized as both a project of alternative development and alternative modernity; Proyecto Global can be considered a project of alternative modernity; and the Tul home garden project can be considered a project of alternative modernity.