The call for submissions for the WAU Congress 2024 in Johannesburg is now closed, and we thank all participants; paper evaluations will be ready on June 14.




( pn10 )

Anthropology of Autonomies, Self-governing peoples and insurgents indigenous movements


    Andrey Cordeiro Ferreira

    Nationality: Brazil

    Residence: Brazil


    Presence:Face to Face/ On Site

    Sardar Saadi

    Nationality: Canada

    Residence: Canada

    University of Rojava, Qamishlo, the Democratic Administration of the North and East Syria Regions


    José Vicente Mertz

    Nationality: Brazil

    Residence: Portugal

    CAPP - ISCSP - Universidade de Lisboa

    Presence:Face to Face/ On Site

IUAES Affiliation: Anthropology, Public Policy and Development Practice


Autonomies, Self-governing, Insurgency, Indigenous movements,


The crisis of the state (its representativeness, legitimacy and authority) and anti-colonial, anti-neoliberal or anti-capitalist insurgencies are raising serious challenges to the social sciences in the world. The revolts in the French peripheries (2005), then in Greece (2007-2008), Turkey, North Africa and the Middle East (2011), the United States (Occupy Wall Street, 2011) Spain and Chile (2012), Brazil (2013) and Mexico (2014), not to mention peasant and indigenous revolts in the late twentieth century and early twentieth-first century (Mexico 1994, Ecuador 1998-1999, Bolivia 1999-2000 and 2003-2005, Kurdistan 2011-2013) can be considered as part of a world cycle of crisis and re-structuring of the capitalist system and anti-capitalist resistances. Points in common with all these resistances include a questioning of the role of the state in the process of social emancipation, of the effects of neoliberalism (the concentration of wealth, poverty, inequality and financialization) and of Western democracy, accompanied by horizontal or independent forms of organization that trigger different concepts of autonomy. These phenomena, nevertheless, have received little attention in the mainstream of the social sciences, so it is not common for insurgencies to be related to autonomic experiences and vice versa. But insurgencies (like a specific form of resistance of the subaltern groups and very far from a reductionist and mistaking concept of insurgence as synonymous of irregular war driven by authoritarian proto-states movements) are events-processes that do not take place “in and of themselves”. Insurgence in our perspective expresses a politics that tends in two main directions: the deconcentration of power (of the power and functions of government), that is, what we can call autonomy and a redistribution of resources (economic, symbolic and social). Insurgencies are a key theme of international politics and geopolitics in the twenty-first century. On the other hand, there is a multivocality of the concept of autonomy, which is historically diverse and contradictory. For this reason, we propose here a certain framing for the study of autonomies, as: 1) political system or government regime (institutional and territorial); 2) as marginal organizational process in relation to state institutions that encompass management of actions, participation of collectivities (of unions, associations, cooperatives and movements) in politics and relations with the state and capitalist institutions; 3) as discursivity, that is, a mode of narrating and constructing worldviews, as a place of speech. Nowadays in the historical context of a hegemonic world war between a capitalist Neoliberal Western State Sector of the World System and a statist Eastern State Sector, indigenous insurgents and autonomist movements can and usually represent an ancient and long-term legacy of the stateless societies and self-governing peoples. World and regional direct and indirect war, climate changes and global warming have been imposing theoretical and practical challenges to social sciences and people around the world. For this reason, this proposal aims to join critical, ecological and decolonial contributions (theoretical and empiric) to the thing about autonomies and insurgent movements in the context of a global crisis.