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Now We Are Citizens: Indigenous Politics in Post-Multicultural Boliviaby Nancy Grey Postero
Synopses & Reviews
“Postero has written a timely and intriguing ethnography of Bolivia during what she terms the new ‘post-multicultural moment. In this book, Postero offers an insightful historical discussion of Bolivian politics at local and national levels, and provides us with nuanced ethnographies of struggles over neoliberal and multicultural policies. This book will be an important reference for all those seeking to understand the contemporary dynamics of indigenous contestation in the lowlands and highlands of Bolivia.”—Maria Elena Garcia, Professor of Anthropology, Sarah Lawrence College, and author of Making Indigenous Citizens: Identities, Education, and Multicultural Development in Peru
“Postero documents the remarkable way the Guaranís have leveraged legislative changes meant to circumscribe their rights to fight for an expansion of those rights....Her account for the Guaraní struggle to find a voice in Bolivia's political process illuminates the long, rocky road many countries in Latin America face as they grapple with the question of how to reduce social inequality and poverty.”
The book traces current Indian activism in Bolivia, arguing that a new social formation is emerging to challenge racism and the harsh effects of the dominant neoliberal economic model.
Upon winning the 2005 presidential election, Evo Morales became the first indigenous person to lead Bolivia since the arrival of the Spanish more than five hundred years before. Moraless election is the culmination of a striking new kind of activism in Bolivia. Born out of a history of resistance to colonial racism and developed in collective struggles against the post-revolutionary state, this movement crystallized over the last decade as poor and Indian Bolivian citizens engaged with the democratic promises and exclusions of neoliberal multiculturalism.
This ethnography of the Guaraní Indians of Santa Cruz traces how recent political reforms, most notably the Law of Popular Participation, recast the racist exclusions of the past, and offers a fresh look at neoliberalism. Armed with the language of citizenship and an expectation of the rights citizenship implies, this group is demanding radical changes to the structured inequalities that mark Bolivian society. As the 2005 election proved, even Bolivias most marginalized people can reform fundamental ideas about the nation, multiculturalism, neoliberalism, and democracy.
About the Author
Nancy Grey Postero is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, San Diego. She is coeditor of The Struggle for Indian Rights in Latin America (2004).
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