Sumak Kawsay/Buen vivir

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"From the perspective of indigenous peoples, Sumak Kawsay is understood as a philosophy of life in harmony with nature and its spiritual dimension. This concept has been proposed as a philosophical principle originating with the Sarayakuruna, the Kichwa people of Sarayaku, province of Pastaza, located in the Amazon region of Ecuador. It is part of their philosophy, science, cosmovision or set of ancestral knowledge and ways of understanding reality (Viteri et al. cited in Silva, 2003; Viteri, 1993, 2003).

For the Kichwa anthropologist from Sarayaku, Carlos Viteri Gualinga (2003), Sumak Kawsay is constituted as a philosophy of life founded on a system of social, political, economic, environmental and spiritual relations, which the Sarayakuruna conceive as "the ideal meaning of life"; a condition of existence without shortages or crises; a harmonious, desirable and ideal life situation, intimately associated with a spatial component (territory) and a moral, ethical and spiritual order, on the basis of which individuals, societies and the beings of the environment interact. This notion would guide the way of life, regulating relations between human beings on the basis of egalitarian, communitarian and reciprocal principles, and would be nourished by dialogue with nature and its spiritual dimension (Viteri et al. cit. in Silva, 2003)".

It has gained importance by being included in the constitutions of Ecuador and Bolivia and, under the Spanish translation of Buen Vivir o Vivir Bien, has been applied to public policies and the economic planification.

For more on the debate around the concept, read: From Sumak Kawsay to Living Well debate: Signified in dispute and dispute for signifiers in Spanish.

Equivalent concepts

Sumaj qamaña

Public policies associated with this theme

Sumak Kawsay/Buen Vivir/Vivir Bien is included in



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With Ripess NL articles or position papers