This chapter presents a comparative history of development and change over the longue durée. It weaves between Latvian and South African history at pivotal moments in spacetime, with particular focus given to the historical processes of colonization, imperialism, and resistance. The chapter concludes with coverage of national independence and social transitions to democracy.
Post-Soviet Latvia and post-apartheid South Africa are far apart geographically and yet have endured a similar history of colonial and authoritarian rule before transitioning to democracy at the end of the 20th century. This book examines these two nations in an unusual comparative study of post-authoritarian efforts to decolonize production and trade.
The book combines an analysis of political economy and ecocultural heritage to unpack alternative trade formations. It also connects world systems thinking with Indigenous knowledge to articulate a decolonial theory of development and change over the longue durée. Conclusions and insights drawn are timely and important for a planet confronted by crises such as authoritarianism, laissez-faire capitalism, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.
This culminating chapter returns to various strands presented in earlier chapters of the book to articulate a decolonial theory of development. It begins with a decolonial critique of modern rationalism. Next, it draws from research findings to lay out the three features of authoritarian monocultures as an imperial mode of existence. It then identifies the features of egalitarian ecocultures, showing how this Indigenous and counterhegemonic mode of existence works to establish regenerative food, heritage and trade cultures at the fringes of the hegemonic world-system. These heterotopias of resistance offer critical insight into the relational knowledges, values and practices that support decolonization from within and without.
This chapter shares research findings from a participatory action research study conducted with Rooibos tea farmers at a time of market crisis and against a backdrop of systemic scarcity. It weaves a broader analysis of the racialized political economy informing the Rooibos tea sector with a cultural history of a marginalized yet heritage rich people who are producing Rooibos tea in the Indigenous way of their ancestors at the geographic origin of this culturally important product.
This chapter documents a multiracial body of Ubuntu philosophy and interprets key lessons for an international readership. It joins a textual analysis of the apartheid resistance literature with autoethnographic reflection to show how South Africans are engaging the Ubuntu ethic to organize communities and heal collective trauma. The chapter concludes by situating Ubuntu in sustainable development context.
This chapter documents and interprets Indigenous Latvian philosophy for an international readership. It joins a textual analysis of Latvian Dainas with autoethnographic reflections, showing how one of the largest cultural bodies of recorded folk songs in the world transmit intergenerational wisdom and ecocultural values grounded in an agrarian way of life. The chapter concludes by situating the Dainas in sustainable development context.
This chapter shares research findings from fieldwork conducted at the time of Latvia’s accession into the European Union. It shows how land reforms enabled a generation of farmers to return to the land, where small-scale famers have combined the matriarchal horticultural model of ancient Latvian tradition with investments in local and slow food. It also examines the political, economic, and cultural challenges that Latvia has experienced as part of its integration into the European Union.
This chapter provides an overview of the Latvian and South African case studies. It explicates the theoretical and conceptual frameworks applied in the book and details historical eras of great transformation. After describing research methods and author positionality, the chapter concludes by summarizing the chapters to come.
Across the Western world, there is much anxiety that popular faith in the democratic idea is waning. This chapter argues that in order to understand this trend we need to be more specific in what we mean by ‘democracy’. Drawing on global evidence and a comparison of India and China, the chapter demonstrates an ambiguous interaction between political democratisation and human health. It argues that the credibility of the democratic model requires much deeper forms of social engagement than the sterile formalism of electoral enfranchisement and the periodic vote – a much stronger emphasis on local processes of deliberative dialogue. And it concludes that health, as a matter of intense individual and collective interest, offers a fertile ground in which for such democratic localism to grow.
The concluding chapter argues that ‘crisis’ is defined not by the immediate impact but by the extent to which societies are able to learn and adapt in the aftermath. It reprises the principal arguments offered in each of the six core themes of liberal value, summarising how the evidence from health may help us to redefine our understanding of these values as we enter – and attempt to shape better – a post-COVID world.