"Isso é nossa realidade" (This is our reality): Beyond images of Amazonia
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This thesis explores the images and representations of Amazonia as a tropical rain forest, and how they influence the way people tend to picture the area. Shaped through trajectories of history, national expansion and environmentalism, these images comes into being through actions; the way the Brazilian state and development organisations have established projects in the area. Having been described as an uninhabited, tropical rain forest, only inhabited by the pristine Amerindians, the non-indigenous part of the population has become invisible in these representations. My fieldwork was carried out in an island community outside Belém, the provincial capital of Pará, and explores the resource management the local islanders practiced in their livelihoods. Combining spheres of urban, rural, traditional and modern aspects, the islanders carried out their livelihoods in small-scale, multi-use strategies combining different sectors, and as I argue throughout my thesis, in sustainable manners. They were modern resource managers; taking advantage of the local knowledge of their given landscape. Working with a local women's movement concerned with acknowledging women's participation in agricultural livelihoods gave me insight in women's role in livelihood activities. The way modern and traditional knowledge and techniques were combined proved local communities in Amazonia to be important in relation to sustainable development projects, and should be included in the overarching image of Amazonia.