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Popular Politics of Social Emancipation in Bolivia from the 1930s to the Present: Indigeneity, Revolution and the State


This dissertation looks at how state-society relationship in Bolivia has evolved from the 1930s to the present. It explores contradictions embedded in different projects of nation making and social change in the country. It centers popular actors, including comunarios (members of indigenous communities), colonos (indians subjected to hacendados), miners, indigenous residents of poor barrios, Aymara and Quechua intelectuals and peasants. It examines select moments in Bolivian history that challenge the presumed linear, chronological progression of national history. In other words, the five moments, analyzed herein, represent histories that do not fit into the History (master-narrative) of Bolivia’s national development–they are different facets of popular experiences in the country’s history. By critically using archival documents, newspapers, films, images, literature, and oral testimonies, it shows a long-term process of popular mobilization that has raised a possibility of social emancipation in Bolivia.

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