We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Cement, Earthworms, and Cheese Factories

Religion and Community Development in Rural Ecuador

Jill DeTemple

Publication Year: 2012

Cement, Earthworms, and Cheese Factories examines the ways in which religion and community development are closely intertwined in a rural part of contemporary Latin America. Using historical, documentary, and ethnographic data collected over more than a decade as an aid worker and as a researcher in central Ecuador, Jill DeTemple examines the forces that have led to this entanglement of religion and development and the ways in which rural Ecuadorians, as well as development and religious personnel, negotiate these complicated relationships. Technical innovations have been connected to religious change since the time of the Inca conquest, and Ecuadorians have created defensive strategies for managing such connections. Although most analyses of development either tend to ignore the genuinely religious roots of development or conflate development with religion itself, these strategies are part of a larger negotiation of progress and its meaning in twenty-first-century Ecuador. DeTemple focuses on three development agencies—a liberationist Catholic women's group, a municipal unit dedicated to agriculture, and evangelical Protestant missionaries engaged in education and medical work—to demonstrate that in some instances Ecuadorians encourage a hybridity of religion and development, while in other cases they break up such hybridities into their component parts, often to the consternation of those with whom religious and development discourse originate. This management of hybrids reveals Ecuadorians as agents who produce and reform modernities in ways often unrecognized by development scholars, aid workers, or missionaries, and also reveals that an appreciation of religious belief is essential to a full understanding of diverse aspects of daily life.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (30.0 KB)

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (29.0 KB)
pp. ix-x

Many people and organizations in many places have made this book possible. In Ecuador, I am grateful to familia Martinez-Pacheco, who hosted me in my early days in the country, taught me Spanish, and became family. I also thank Carmen Bauz, who has given me shelter, warm...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (98.7 KB)
pp. 1-18

“So, are you an evangelical, or what?” It was a misty afternoon in 1996 in a small community high in the Ecuadorian mountains. Vicente, a middle-aged Catholic farmer, had paused as we worked together on a composting project, squinting at me over shovels and small creatures...

read more

1. “Things Both Good and Bad”: Religion and Development in Latin American Contexts

pdf iconDownload PDF (100.1 KB)
pp. 19-36

October 16, 2002. The students at the public high school in San Marcos, many of whom are from outlying communities in the canton and board in local rooms in order to complete their secondary education, gathered in the school’s central courtyard and athletic area to hear a speech about...

read more

2. La Lucha: Negotiating Desire, Community, Religion, and Progress in San Marcos

pdf iconDownload PDF (165.0 KB)
pp. 37-66

On a dark night in September 2002, we were headed to one of the places on the edge of the map, but we were having difficulty reaching it. Dust and the low clearance of our four-door sedan prevented easy passage to our destination. High-centered and spinning our wheels, we could...

read more

3. Pedagogies of Power: Alternative Developments

pdf iconDownload PDF (175.4 KB)
pp. 67-101

Several years after Juan and Antonieta’s party, and at the end of a relatively distant road, I found myself once again thinking about kitchens as a part of ethnographic work. Seated at the back of a crowded apartment living room in Cayambe, a cantonal capital in the north of the country...

read more

4. Good Housekeeping: Negotiating Religion and Development at Home

pdf iconDownload PDF (181.9 KB)
pp. 103-135

Negotiations, as human activity, happen in places. Where one can slow down enough to glimpse and perhaps go through the thin barriers between public and private life, one can begin to discern the points of contact and exchange where larger discourses meet and are transformed...

read more

5. Cement Things: Imagining Infrastructure, Community, and Progress

pdf iconDownload PDF (161.0 KB)
pp. 137-167

Buildings. Easily visible from the side of the road, buildings are among the most obvious signs of development and institutional religion in the modern Ecuadorian landscape. On the highway from Guaranda to San Marcos, a nursery complex sponsored by a Catholic development...

read more

6. Spiritual Cardiology: Wholeness, Becoming, and (Dis)Integration

pdf iconDownload PDF (131.7 KB)
pp. 169-195

“Do gringos believe in bad air [mal aire]?” Lucía asked me one evening as I stood in her living room. I had come over to borrow her phone in order to check on a friend who was ill. She posed the question in a casual, conversational tone, but she had stopped folding the pile of clothes...

read more

Conclusion: Truman’s Earthworms

pdf iconDownload PDF (42.4 KB)
pp. 197-203

Two weeks before I was scheduled to leave Ecuador after my fieldwork in 2002–3, I found myself across the fence from Vicente’s backyard, once again up to my elbows in earthworms. This time I was digging up the great-great-grandchildren of Viche’s original bunch to take back...


pdf iconDownload PDF (98.5 KB)
pp. 205-219


pdf iconDownload PDF (124.2 KB)
pp. 221-240


pdf iconDownload PDF (90.9 KB)
pp. 241-244

E-ISBN-13: 9780268077778
E-ISBN-10: 0268077770
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268026110
Print-ISBN-10: 0268026114

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 4 halftones
Publication Year: 2012