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Suma Qamaña or Living Well Together: A Contribution to Biocultural Conservation

  • Xavier AlbóEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Ecology and Ethics book series (ECET, volume 3)

Abstract

Living well, suma qamaña in Aymara or buen vivir in Spanish, is the fundamental moral logic that guides Aymara and other Andean cultures and has been incorporated into the Constitutions of Bolivia and Ecuador. A linguistic analysis shows that the conceptual root of suma qamaña (buen vivir or living well) is convivial gathering or community in which basic needs are met and relationships, which even extend to the earth, are harmonious. Living well implies a strong ethical component of valuing and appreciating the distinctiveness of others, as well as spirituality or lifestyle, and so can never be just economic. Since the human factor is always in the forefront, quantifiable economic scores cannot be the exclusive measure. Measurable indicators are required for determining the quality of social relations and of relations with nature, as well as for inter-cultural, inter-gender, and inter-whatever, that show the quality of these relationships, such as equitable reciprocity and convivial living. As a starting point, the best way perhaps will be for each people and culture to develop and make explicit their dearest living values (as has been done in Bolivia with suma qamaña) and, from these, to specify some of the desirable relationships of convivial living that indicate their being fulfilled or violated. Finally, living well is not possible if the inequalities of the general power structure are not faced and overcome.

Keywords

Aymara Bolivia Andean culture Convivial life Mother Earth 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Investigación y Promoción del Campesinado (CIPCA)La PazBolivia

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