Gustavo Esteva (born August 20, 1936 in
Mexico City ) , blank1_name_sec1 = Human Development Index, HDI , blank1_info_sec1 = 0.897 Very High , blank_name_sec2 = GDP (Nominal) , blank_info_sec2 = USD, $266 billion , footnotes ...
) is a Mexican activist, "deprofessionalized intellectual" and founder of the Universidad de la Tierra in the Mexico, Mexican city of Oaxaca (city), Oaxaca. He is one of the best known advocates of post-development.


Esteva's life—as he tells it himself—has been marked by many ruptures; there are also many facts to confirm this view. Esteva has worked in very different environments. Esteva's father died early. Esteva worked for different companies. "Despite the personal discomfort brought about by an increasing awareness of the fraud of the original promise of my profession, I advanced rapidly in my career." Finally he turned to the public sector. He worked for the Bank of foreign trade and joined a marxist group with revolutionary aspirations which he quit in 1965. From 1970 to 1976 he was a high-ranking official in the government of President Luis Echeverría, Echeverría. When he gave up this job, he was totally disillusioned about statist development practices. In 1983 he met Ivan Illich. "[...] I was invited to a Seminar in Mexico City on the social construction of energy with Wolfgang Sachs. Ivan was there. I was mesmerized. That very night, I embarked on my Illich studium. A little later, I started to collaborate with him. Still later, slowly, we became friends." He was an advisor with the EZLN, Zapatista Army for National Liberation in Chiapas for the negotiations with the government. He works at the Centre for Intercultural Dialogues and Exchanges (CEDI) in the city of Oaxaca, publishes regularly in different journals, and works with Indian groups and NGOs.


Esteva had a Catholic upbringing. When he lost his faith in God he replaced it with a faith in reason. Through his studies he became familiar with instrumental rationality; dissatisfied he turned, after some soul searching,2004b - no paging to marxism. During the 70s Esteva With marxism Esteva has given up all ideas about a Vanguardism, vanguard. He is an advocate of radical pluralism.On this notion see Esteva 1996, passim Discussing the national Identity (social science), identity Esteva refers to Guillermo Bonfil' distinction between a profound (México profundo) and an imaginary Mexico (México imaginario). He questions the modern obsession with planning the future and "projects" of all kinds: The contrasting attitude of the indigenous peoples, according to Esteva, is not to reject Social change, change, but Traditionally the indigenous people did not oppose their own project to the dominant project -- but times have changed:

Selected works

;Books *David Barkin, Gustavo Esteva: ''Inflación y Democracia : El Caso de México'', México : Siglo XXI, 1979 *Gustavo Esteva: ''Economía y enajenación'' [Economy and alienation], México, D.F. : Biblioteca Universidad Veracruzana, 1980 *Gustavo Esteva: ''La batalla en el México rural'', México : Siglo XXI, 1982. *James E. Austin and Gustavo Esteva (ed.):''Food policy en Mexico : the search for selfsufficiency'', Ithaca ; London : Cornell Univ. Pr., 1987 *Gustavo Esteva: ''Fiesta - jenseits von Entwicklung, Hilfe und Politik'', Frankfurt a. M. : Brandes & Apsel, 1992 -German translation of a selection of essays, enlarged second edition in 1995 *Gustavo Esteva: ''Crónica del fin de una era : el secreto del EZLN'', México : Ed. Posada, 1994 *Gustavo Esteva Figueroa and Madhu Suri Prakash: ''Hope at the margins : beyond human rights and development'', New York : St. Martin’s Press, 1997 *Madhu Suri Prakash and Gustavo Esteva: ''Escaping education : living as learning within grassroots cultures'', New York [etc.]: Peter Lang, 1998 * Gustavo Esteva and Madhu Suri Prakash: ''Grassroots post-modernism : remaking the soil of cultures'', London & New Jersey: Zed Books, 1998 *Gustavo Esteva, and Catherine Marielle (eds.):''Sin maíz no hay país: páginas de una exposición'', México : Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, Dirección General de Culturas Populares e Indígenas, 2003 * Gustavo Esteva, Salvatore Babones, and Philipp Babcicky: ''The future of development : a radical manifesto'', Bristol: Policy Press, 2013 * Gustavo Esteva, a cura di, ''Ripensare il mondo con Ivan Illich'', Riola (Bo), Mutus Liber, 2014 * Gustavo Esteva, ''Nuovi ambiti di comunità Per una riflessione sui ‘beni comuni’'', Collana Voci da Abya Yala, Documenti dall'America latina, a cura del gruppo Camminardomandando, Edizioni Mutus Liber, 2016 ;Articles * Esteva, Gustavo: "Regenerating People's space" in: Saul H. Mendlovitz and R.B.J. Walker, Towards a Just World Peace. London: Butterworths, 1987; pp. 271–298. * Esteva, Gustavo: "Tepito: No Thanks, First World", in: In Context, num. 30, Fall/Winter 1991 * Esteva, Gustavo: "Development" in The Development Dictionary. A Guide to Knowledge as Power, London & New Jersey: Zed Books, 1992, pp. 6–25 * Esteva, Gustavo: "Re-embedding Food in Agriculture", in: Culture and Agriculture [Virginia, USA], 48, Winter 1994 * Esteva, Gustavo: "From 'Global Thinking' to 'Local Thinking': Reasons to Go beyond Globalization towards Localization", with M.S.Prakash, in: Osterreichische Zeitschirift für Politikwissenschatft, 2, 1995 * Esteva, Gustavo:"Hosting the Otherness of the Green Revolution" in: Frédérique Apffel-Marglin and Stephen A. Marglin, eds.: ''Decolonizing Knowledge: From Development to Dialogue''. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996, pp. 249–278 * Esteva, Gustavo: "Beyond Development, What?", with M.S. Prakash, in: ''Development in Practice'', Vol. 8, No.3, August 1998. * Esteva, Gustavo: "The Zapatistas and People's Power", in Capital & Class, 68, Summer 1999. * Esteva, Gustavo: "The meaning and scope of the struggle for autonomy" in: Lat. Am. Perspect., 28:2, March 2001, pp. 120–148 * Esteva, Gustavo(2004a): "Back from the future" -Notes for the presentation in “Schooling and Education: A Symposium with Friends of Ivan Illich” organized by TALC New Vision, Milwaukee, October 9, 2004
* Esteva, Gustavo(2004b):“Rupturas:” Turning Point

*Esteva, Gustavo: ''The Oaxaca commune and Mexico's autonomous movement's'', Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, México : Ed. ¡Basta!, 2008, 22 p.

See also

*Development criticism


Secondary literature

*Terán, Gustavo: ''Conversations with Mexican nomadic storyteller, Gustavo Esteva : learning from lives on the margins'', Dissertation, University of Vermont, 2002

* Aram Ziai: "Gustavo Esteva (born 1936). Selbstbestimmte Gemeinwesen statt Entwicklung" in: ''eins. Entwicklungspolitik. Information Nord Süd'', No. 23/24, 2005, 48-50

External links

* (2001)
Interview with Gustavo Esteva: The Society of the Different
Personal webpage
{{DEFAULTSORT:Esteva, Gustavo Living people People from Mexico City Mexican activists Neo-Luddites 1936 births