Article Title

Traditional Communities as "Subjects of Rights" and the Commoditization of Knowledge in Brazil


The International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 169 and the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) led signatory state-members to recognize traditional communities as subjects of rights, and no longer as objects of tutelage. However, their implementation may bring new challenges in states adopting market-based decision-making to rule social life. In pluri-ethnic societies in which power differentials are structurally embedded, traditional communities and companies exploring their resources and knowledge have been, historically, unequal and opposed parties. In processes of benefit sharing, these unequal social actors are wrongfully considered equally free subjects of rights in negotiating contracts in supposedly free markets. Erasing historical and structural differences, and assuming equality in an unequal world will only reproduce the inequality that CBD has aimed to address.


The authors thank the interviewees from traditional peoples and communities for their kind support to this research.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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