Transcending the nature-society dichotomy: A dialogue between the Sumak Kawsay and the epistemology of complexity

Malo Larrea, Antonio
Cadena, Marco Ambrosi de la
Collado Ruano, Javier
Gallardo Fierro, L.
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This transdisciplinary research aims to propose one path, among multiple paths, to transcend the nature/society dichotomy in ecological economics, through an ecology of knowledge between Sumak Kawsay—an Andean indigenous cosmovision—and the epistemology of complexity. A qualitative methodology has been used, which includes a critical revision of scholarship on Sumak Kawsay, the definition of nature, complexity, complex systems, and the epistemology of complexity. This effort points to a critique of the conception of nature held by ‘traditional science’; one that has also resulted in the nature/society dichotomy as an epistemic basis within ecological economics. Thus, an epistemic convergence between Sumak Kawsay and the epistemology of complexity is advocated not only to disregard the nature/society dichotomy in ecological economics but also to include ancestral indigenous principles and values in knowledge production. In conclusion, such a dialogue between Sumak Kawsay and the epistemology of complexity could transcend the nature/society dichotomy within ecological economics by including notions like Pacha Mama and socio-ecological systems. It also has the potential to influence science production by considering principles from ancestral knowledge that points towards community, inclusion, horizontality, complexity, interculturality, and trans-disciplinarity ​
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