Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld and Antonio Castañeda Camuendo, Ariasucu, 2009

Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld and
Antonio Castañeda Camuendo, Ariasucu, 2009

Twenty years into an anthropological career rooted in Imbabura province north of Quito, I still explore a shifting variety of new arts and businesses in this Andean world.  I am drawn to a single, central accomplishment of people in Ecuador’s highlands, the practical pluralism of their working lives and politics.  I explore  business investments, trade councils, weaving, painting,  consumption, and fiestas.  And through these, I look at how  people care for, modernize, invent, and reject traditions.  I am particularly interested in the ways that private entrepreneurship and social aspiration creates shared value.  It is this commons of culture, work, and wealth that spur dynamic public spheres. In turn, fights over these commons reveal the necessary links between economy and civic life. Since 2008, I have tried to test lessons learned in Ecuadorian community economies for food system change in the United States, especially local food initiatives in North Carolina.