Beatriz Pérez Galán

Beatriz Pérez Galán is a doctor in Social Anthropology from the UCM (1999) and tenured lecturer in Anthropology at the National University of Distance Learning (UNED), where she teaches degree and postgraduate courses on Political Anthropology, Development Anthropology and indigenous peoples of of Latin America. She has been a guest lecturer at the Autonomous University of Querétaro (Mexico), Pontificia University of Peru, Institute of Peruvian Studies (Lima, Peru) University of Caldas (Colombia), San Pablo Catholic University (Bolivia) and the National University of Costa Rica, among others. Since 1994, a major part of her ethnographic field work has focussed on Quechua populations in the southern Peruvian Andes, and more recently in Colombia and Bolivia, on a number of subjects including: territoriality, worldview, indigenous systems of political organisation, rural development, patrimonial appropriation processes of nature and culture, new forms of indigenous tourism and the right to communication of indigenous populations.

Research at MEDIOS

While the so-called “indigenous emergency” (Bengoa, 2000) is a process that was institutionalised in the nineties, with a background stretching back decades, in recent years, firstly this population’s extension of access to new technologies, and secondly the conflicts embittered by the so-called “extractive economy” in several countries in the region – accompanied by policies of dispossession of territories and basic rights, along with the criminalisation of the indigenous movement’s leaders and social communicators – have transmuted into a proliferation of initiatives to recognise the right to a communication differentiated both internationally (2007 United Nations Declaration) and nationally, regionally and locally in different countries in Latin America.

Starting from that verification, and placing emphasis on indigenous communication as a “political arena”, my contribution to this project aims to illustrate the relationship between this population’s visibilisation and empowerment processes and that of the proliferation of communication initiatives of the original populations in the cases of Bolivia and Colombia, respectively. Two countries with very different historical, political, economic and cultural trajectories yet the indigenous movement has developed strongly in both countries – in recent decades translating into policies that recognise this population’s rights, especially including their own, differentiated communication.

Using a selection de cases, I will undertake an ethnography of local processes and communications media, promoted, organised and directed for and by the indigenous population. The aim is to illustrate what this communication consists of, what role it plays in collective self-identification processes and in the construction of political rights, who its protagonists are, the audience at which it is aimed, what its contents are and what its social, political and cultural impact is. The specific examples to illustrate these processes come from two community radios stations, one in Santa Cruz (Radio Nativa) and the other in Cochabamba (Radio Lachiwana), in Bolivia, and from “El Tejido comunicativo de la Asociación de Cabildos Indígenas del norte del Cauca” (“Communicative Network of the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca”, Cauca) and the “Escuela de Comunicaciones Wayúu” (“Wayúu Communications School”, La Guajira), in Colombia. This ethnography of local media will be completed with that conducted in spaces across the region and the continent (for example, indigenous communications summits and indigenous film festivals) where the agenda of indigenous media activism is constructed and global networks are created to define and reclaim collective rights.

Otros investigadores