Food sovereignty as a conceptual framework to understand the multidimensional impacts of the tourism industry in Indigenous contexts: The case of the Chakra Route in Napo, Ecuador
Santafe Troncoso, Veronica T.
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In my dissertation, my concern is the lack of agency of Indigenous people in the development of tourism in their territories and the need for frameworks that guide this development in a more sustainable and Indigenous-led way. Agency signifies peoples' power to influence their own lives. Indeed, tourism is often discussed as a desirable development strategy for Indigenous communities, but it is also seen to have a poor track record regarding its impacts on Indigenous livelihoods and their ecosystems. This dissertation offers an alternative perspective on tourism development, specifically focusing on locals' food sovereignty. I contest the assumption that increasing local income through tourism is, on its own, enough for improving food security and other food-related outcomes for locals. I use the concept of food sovereignty to show the complexities and multidimensional impacts of tourism in Indigenous host communities. I apply qualitative and collaborative research to explore the potential of food sovereignty in tourism studies. A case study research design facilitated this exploration. The setting is the Chakra Route, a tourist destination in the Amazonia of Ecuador, which overlaps Kichwa Napo Runa people's ancestral land. The Chakra Route's contextual conditions offer a window to explore the relationship between tourism and food sovereignty in Indigenous contexts. I explore there the multiple interpretations of food sovereignty among participants, the development of tourism, the impacts locals perceived on their food sovereignty as a result of tourism development, and my own research practices. By doing that I was able to i) identify the elements that a food sovereignty framework should include to inform more sustainable and Indigenous-led tourism practices; ii) examine how tourism alters the food sovereignty of Kichwa Napo Runa people and how these alterations affect their wellbeing; and iii) reflect on how this research praxis contributes to increasing Indigenous peoples’ agency in tourism research and democratizing knowledge and ways of knowing for food sovereignty efforts. Overall, this research contributes to knowledge in Indigenous tourism and supports the application of food sovereignty in multiple contexts and fields.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
DepartmentSchool of Environment and Sustainability
ProgramEnvironment and Sustainability
SupervisorLoring, Philip A.
CommitteeEngler-Stringer, Rachel; Croes, Robertico; Patrick, Robert; Colin Whitfield, Colin
Copyright DateJanuary 2021
Indigenous food sovereignty
Indigenous food systems