Warner Launches Book on Rural Development in Ecuador
Professor of city and regional planning Mildred Warner has released a book of collected oral histories of the residents of Tungurahua, Ecuador, who shared their experiences and insights on rural development and their family strategies over several decades. The book, titled Un Buen Lugar en Tungurahua: Estrategias Familiares de un Pueblo Rural, is written in Spanish and is jointly published by the Faculty of Latin American Social Scientists (FLACSO) Ecuador, and Abya Yala (2018).
According to Warner, "the oral histories show the power of narrative to build situated knowledge to promote knowledge equity, engage local voices, and enhance scholarly understanding of rural transformation and family strategies. This book lifts up their voices and helps us understand how Tungurahua province became one of a small set of 'good places' in rural Latin America that have seen both economic growth and reductions in inequality."
Un Buen Lugar en Tungurahua draws on Warner's own Peace Corps experience in Tungurahua 40 years ago and highlights Cornell University's distinct relationship to the Peace Corps more broadly as the histories touch on larger themes of agriculture, migration, and the role of public services in rural development. Warner's book shows how the ideology of buen vivir (well being) is made real on the ground through family and community strategies of active citizenship to build the buen lugar (good place). The collaboration between Cornell and FLACSO is an alliance between universities, and the book publishes the voices of the rural community alongside academic research. Warner helped to organize a launch event in Quito this summer where all of the contributing coauthors who live in Tungurahua attended and presented.
Following the Quito launch, CRP's fall colloquium held a public lecture and "talk back" session with Warner and her academic collaborators Patric Hollenstein, who is a professor at the Central University of Ecuador specializing in political economics; and Liisa L. North, who is professor emerita from York University in Toronto and FLASCO Ecuador specializing in rural development and reform. Hollenstein and North coauthored a chapter in the book on the uniqueness of the rural development of Tungurahua.
By Edith Fikes