Non-Western Epistemology and the Understanding of the Pachamama (Environment) Within the World(s) of the Aymara Identity


The purpose of this article is to understand, from the perspective of the Bolivian Aymara identity of Bolivia, the intrinsic relation these persons have with Nature. This task is developed through the study of what they call Pachamama (sacred Mother Earth), which is part of their identity as an ‘all interrelated whole, the Suma Qamaña or Good Living’, and which can be considered a non-Western epistemology. Their worldview breaks with the Western (anthropocentric) conception of environment that informs European and Anglo-Saxon continental law, and that is currently predominant in international standards of reference. Proponents of this perspective achieved a transformation in the international treatment of Nature, recognised by the United Nations (Resolution 63/278 of 2009, promoted by the Bolivian State), gaining inspiration from the inclusion by Ecuador of Pacha Mama (Nature) as a subject of rights in its constitution (2008).

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Published: 2019-08-19
Pages:6 to 22
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How to Cite
Apaza Huanca, Y. K. (2019) “Non-Western Epistemology and the Understanding of the Pachamama (Environment) Within the World(s) of the Aymara Identity”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 8(3), pp. 6-22. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v8i3.1241.

Author Biography

 Bolivia, Plurinational State of

My name is Yaneth Katia Apaza Huanca, I am the first Aymara generation born in the city of La Paz-Bolivia. My ayllu-community is Chiquipata and is located on the shores of Lake Titicaca in the same department. My interest in my origin was born by doing and deepening my doctoral research on the Aymara, Quechua and Kichwa at the Carlos III University of Madrid (Spain) where I was able to reconstruct my millenary identity and was moved by the aspirations of my ancestors. From that moment on, the aspiration was born in me to make known their ancestral knowledge and their identity, so little valued and confused at the present time.

Mi nombre es Yaneth Katia Apaza Huanca, soy la primera generación aymara que ha nacido en la ciudad de La Paz-Bolivia. Mi ayllu- Comunidad es Chiquipata y se encuentra a las orillas del Lago Titicaca en el mismo departamento. Mi interés por mi origen nació al realizar y profundizar conocimientos en mi investigación doctoral sobre los aymaras, quechuas y kichwas en la Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (España) ahí pude reconstruir mi identidad milenaria y me sentí conmovida por las aspiraciones de mis ancestros. A partir de ese momento nació en mí la aspiración de dar a conocer sus saberes ancestrales y su identidad tan poco valorada y confundida en la actualidad.