Territory, resistance and struggles for the plurinational state: the spatial politics of the TIPNIS Conflict

Laing, Anna Frances (2015) Territory, resistance and struggles for the plurinational state: the spatial politics of the TIPNIS Conflict. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3094501


This thesis provides an analytical framework for understanding the changing relations between the state and left-indigenous movements in Bolivia and Latin America, more generally. Bolivian citizens have been witness to a number of progressive changes since the inauguration of the country’s first indigenous President, Evo Morales, in 2006. The MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo; Movement Towards Socialism) Party administration pushed through a Constituent Assembly process that granted unprecedented indigenous and environmental rights. Fundamentally, the Constitution renamed the Republic the ‘Plurinational State of Bolivia’ in recognition of the nearly two-thirds of the population that identified as indigenous in the 2001 census. Tensions between the state and social movements remain, however, with many questioning the government’s national development model based on environmentally degrading neo-extractivism and infrastructural projects, which often take place within collectively titled indigenous territories.

Through a nine month period of extensive ethnographic research I explored a conflict that emerged in 2011 when the MAS government announced plans to build a road through a national park and legally recognised indigenous territory located in the Amazon Basin, known more commonly as the TIPNIS (Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure; Isiboro Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park). Expanding on the theoretical traditions of the geographies of social movements literature alongside postcolonial studies, I present a new framework for understanding social mobilisation. Specifically, I contend that the practices of contentious politics are generative of emerging spatio-political imaginaries. By locating myself amongst the daily geographies of movement/solidarity building, I engage with the ways in which a self-defined ‘indigenous movement’, and urban solidarity networks broadly associated with the ‘left’, re-articulated notions of territoriality, the nation-state, democracy and development during the TIPNIS conflict. Fundamentally then, this thesis highlights the contingent nature of state-social movement dynamics and political identity formation, more broadly.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Social movement, indigenous, subaltern, articulation, geography, Bolivia
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
J Political Science > JL Political institutions (America except United States)
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Featherstone, Dr. David and Routledge, Professor Paul
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Dr Anna Frances Laing
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-5974
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2015 13:01
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 16:09
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/5974

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