Research projects 4

Improving our understanding of human-environment relations, and particularly of human motivations, rationale and management regimes, is paramount to the success of any biodiversity conservation initiative involving local communities. By comparing approaches, challenges and successes across case study sites, this research aims to identify those contextual settings, socio-cultural traits, incentives, and practical tools that best foster optimum long-term integration of biodiversity conservation and local wellbeing.

The main aims of the project are the following: a) to create a new research collectivity on indigenous peoples that would be organized from the Faculty of Humanities, Helsinki University. b) to understand better current grass root challenges of indigenous peoples c) to identify new contacts at the Helsinki University and internationally d) to create new study modules. e) to integrate creativity and epistemology of indigenous people in the methods and contents of the research and teaching activities.

  • Head of research Pirjo Virtanen
  • Language n/a

In Latin America indigenous peoples have turned into significant political actors. This project examines how the new forms of indigenous leaderships connect to the questions of power, and consider how they are interpreted from a native point of view. The studied groups are two Arawak-speaking groups living in Western Amazonia, Brazil. In looking at the way these two groups view their spokespeople and create new political, cultural, and economic partnerships, the aim is to explore the Amerindian way of producing different bodies, authority, and agency. The research also addresses historical changes of leadership as part of other social and political processes in the past and present. The main research questions are the following: 1) What are the new forms of leadership in Amazonian native communities? 2) How can acting in new interethnic networks be understood as a new type of human-to-human relation in Amazonian sociocosmology? 3) How have social roles hold by the young indigenous people changed their communities? 4) What are the differences between young female and male native leaders? 5) How have Amazonian leaderships changed taking into account environmental changes, economic, political, social, and legal processes?

  • Head of research Minna opas
  • Language n/a

Through a case study – the Yine of Peruvian Amazonia – the research aims both at generating understanding of the relationship between materiality and immateriality in contemporary indigenous Amazonian Christianities, and at providing tools for future comparative study of these Christianities.