Images of a Flexible Andes culture

October 2003 -

The CEDLA in Amsterdam published a book on the effect of globalisation on the Andes culture, simultaneously with a CD ROM with photographs of the Andes.
Lamas, pan flutes and bright-coloured clothing have always existed. But will these and other typical characteristics of the Andes culture still exist in the future?


'Encroaching globalisation.' - Dick de Morrée / PIED Andino

In Imaging the Andes: Shifting Margins of a Marginal World , organised by the Centre for study and documentation of Latin America (CEDLA), various authors assert that the image that scientists, development workers and other foreigners have of 'Lo Andino' ('the Andesine') is primarily a reflection of their own objectives and interests. Author Jeroen Windmeijer uses a number of quotes to demonstrate the popular image of the Andes culture:

'...The Otavalo Indians have lost their identity... All they do is imitate others...They no longer use traditional patters and materials. At the market in Otavalo, products can be found from Peru, Guatemala and India. These have nothing to do with the Otavalo culture. But they are sold as if they have been produced locally...'
Quote from a Bolivian travel agent

'Traditions: the future or the past?' - Edgar Guerrero/ PIED Andino

According to Windmeijer, the concern for the loss of the identity of the Andes Indian population is based on questionable assumptions, namely that the Indians are obligated to satisfy the expectations of the outsiders. The book justifiably questions whether the term and the image of 'Lo Andino' is still a useful categorisation. Through various contributions, the book demonstrates that the Andes culture is flexible and diverse, and that even deep within the Andes old views are fading.

The dynamics of the Andes culture is also the subject of the photographs on the CD ROM Duizend beelden van de Andes (One thousand images of the Andes). The photographs were taken in the period 1995 - 1997 as part of a study of the influence of development cooperation on the population of the Andes and have now been published on CD ROM. In part based on the photographs, the researchers conclude that the culture of the population of the Andes is much more flexible and diverse than the programs of the development organisations.

Imaging the Andes: Shifting Margins of a Marginal World , Ton Salman and Annelies Zoomers (editors), Aksant Academic Publishers, € 28.50
Duizend Beelden van de Andes , CD ROM, CEDLA, € 10