Interspecies Respect and Potato Conservation in the Peruvian Cradle of Domestication

Olivia Angé*, Adrian Chipa, Pedro Condori, Aniceto Ccoyo Ccoyo, Lino Mamani, Ricardo Pacco, Nazario Quispe, Walter Quispe, Mariano Sutta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores people and tuber affective encounters, as they unfold in a biodiversity conservation programme in the Peruvian Andes. It draws on ethnographic data from the Potato Park, renowned worldwide as one of the most successful in-situ initiatives for the conservation of biocultural diversity. Concerned with interspecies relations, the paper focusses on the circulation of respeto that is both an affect and a normative stance posited locally as necessary for the conservation of the potato. Addressing first expressions of respeto in daily potato practices by highland peasants, the paper then explores its importance within the context of the Park's conservation policy. Agricultural investigations and seed-banking are indeed enmeshed in activities intended to intensify potato-people regard. Throughout the paper, the concept of non-human charisma is used to point out the different kinds of potato appraisals experienced in the Park; as well as how the Park concretely works toward human beings' learning 'how to be affected' by tuber agrobiodiversity. The article finally explains how potato affective agency is extended beyond the Park, to reach the international scene. Exploring the Potato Park from the perspective of respeto, and using charisma as a heuristic tool, it enlightens a mode of conservation initiative; creating flourishing ecologies through affective encounters, that cannot be accounted for with an instrumental approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-40
JournalConservation and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • affect
  • agrobiodiversity
  • Andes
  • conservation
  • Cuzco Highlands
  • ethics
  • interspecies sociality
  • non-human charisma
  • Peru
  • potato
  • respect


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