Resignifying Economy, Nation, and Family in Ecuador
This chapter addresses the shift away from neoliberalism in Ecuador toward the socialist or post-neoliberal Citizen Revolution (2007–present). It addresses concepts that were resignified in the 2008 Constitution: family, defined as “diverse” and based on kinship and alternative forms of intimate relations; nation, defined as plurinational, recognizing indigenous rights to land, territory, and identity; and economy, defined as postcapitalist, with the goal of privileging well-being (buen vivir) and human life over capital. The chapter highlights the centrality of heteronormativity in understanding post-neoliberal states, including governance and development frameworks that privilege the patriarchal heterosexual family, viewing it as the foundation of the country’s modernization goals. It argues that Ecuador’s shift away from neoliberalism is fraught with contradictions, best understood as signifying a partial rupture with the neoliberal legacy. Despite progressive legal changes to the definition of family, nation, and economy in the 2008 Constitution (symbolizing the country’s move away from neoliberalism), it argues that the state maintains a heteronormative, colonialist understanding of governance and development, rendering the potentially radical project of reimagining life “after” neoliberalism incomplete and paradoxical. This has important implications for individuals, communities, and social movements that don’t fit the resignified but colonialist pillars of the Citizen Revolution.
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