Accepted paper:

Recreating space, reclaiming place

Authors:

Vibeke Andersson (Aalborg University)

Paper short abstract:

The shaping of a contemporary Bolivian identity: A case study of indigenous social movements in Bolivia and their claim for ‘taking culture back’. This paper will focus on the shaping of the social movements and how this shaping has included a redefinition of being indigenous and a reshaping of being Bolivian.

Paper long abstract:

Coming to office in 2005 the Bolivian President, Evo Morales said in his inauguration speech: "The indigenous people have been marginalised with the foundation of Bolivia in 1825, therefore the indigenous people will now claim the right to recreate Bolivia" This pinpoints the processes on shaping identity in indigenous peoples' social movements in Bolivia. Indigenous people are now aiming at 'taking back' Bolivia on many levels. This paper will focus on the shaping of the social movement and how this shaping has included a redefinition of being indigenous and a redefinition of being Bolivian. This implies a strategic use of indigenous culture forming an alliance with international actors at a point in history when focus on indigenous rights has been emphasized. An increased focus on indigenous people and their identity, culture and 'belonging' to territories can be seen in government reforms in the 1990's and in recent policies after Evo Morales took office in 2005. Indigenous social movements have been active in protests against increasing gas and water prices. These manifestations have had political goals, but have also been effective in shaping identity and belonging to Bolivia as a place. The paper explores the interconnection of social movement's activities and search for identity with international discourse on culture and rights, in this case especially the connection between the 'space' for identity expressed by indigenous leaders in international discourse and Bolivia as the 'place' where indigenous identity is located.

panel P105
Shaping lives and places within social movements