Inverting Development Discourse in Colombia: Transforming Andean Hearths:

Jason Antrosio

In the 1990s, 60 percent of the households in Tuquerres, a highland town in Colombia's southwestern Andes, bought their first gas range for cooking. The residents frame their purchases as a manifestation of "development" and "modernization," saying the ranges are more economico, rapido, and limpio—terms readily translated as economic, fast, and clean. However, the spread of gas ranges by independent initiative inverts a top–down model of development through government and corporate actors. The residents' use of a development discourse does not emanate primarily from a government or corporate development apparatus but, rather, results from the incorporation of development terms into a local history of hierarchy and stigma. Because residents use these terms to counter stigma and hierarchy, the terms involve unexpected nuances: Economico concerns spending money and cash purchases, ra'pido refers to new forms of family and sociability, and limpio becomes a foil to the shame of dirt. Use of these terms incorporating these expanded meanings reveals that Tuquerrenos embrace aspects of development, but on their own terms. [Keywords: development, modernization, households, Colombia, Andes]