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The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology




Cooperative labor parties known throughout the Andes as mingas, although outwardly appearing to be the same cultural institution, are practiced quite differently and with varying meanings in different socioeconomic contexts. This article discusses how minga cooperation came to exhibit contrasting, yet intimately related, patterns of practice and social relationships in both a displaced, disaster-affected village and a disaster-induced resettlement. It describes actors in these groups appealing to ostensibly common repertoires of shared meaning and culture, while organizing themselves in distinct ways in order to access and control scarce resources. In one village, minga participation is largely sustained through traditional practices of reciprocity, while in the other they are maintained through new institutional strategies. In the former, mingas are mobilized to compete with other villages for scarce resources; in the latter, minga participants compete with one another. [Andes, disaster, Ecuador, labor, mingas, reciprocity, state]


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Faas, A. J. (2017). Reciprocity and Vernacular Statecraft: Andean Cooperation in Post-disaster Highland Ecuador. The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, 22: 495–513, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.