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Books for changing the world
Ecuador’s “Good Living”
Crises, Discourse and Law

In Ecuador's "Good Living" : Crises, Discourse, and Law scholar and Ecuadoran official Carlos E. Gallegos Anda presents a critical appraisal of the concept of Buen Vivir—or sumak kawsay by its indigenous name. Buen Vivir was enshrined in Ecuador's 2008 Constitution and purports to map out a community-centric and ecologically sound path for development. Due to its apparent legal novelty, this normative formula received much praise from multiple civil society and academic circles by forging what some argued to be a new development paradigm based on Andean epistemologies. Gallegos Anda theorizes this important phenomenon through an inductive analysis of context and power relations. Through a masterful navigation of epistemological fields, the author offers a critical theory of Buen Vivir that focuses on changing citizenship regimes, a retreating state, politicised ethnic cleavages, discursive democracy, and the emergence of an empty signifier.

Gallegos-Anda's book is the first to situate Buen Vivir in a theoretical context grounded in international human rights law.