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Who is Marching for Pachamama? An Intersectional Analysis of Environmental Struggles in Bolivia under the Government of Evo Morales

Kaijser, Anna LU (2014) In Lund Dissertations in Sustainability Science 9.
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) bildade regering i Bolivia 2006 med Evo Morales på presidentposten, framburna av folkliga protester mot tidigare, nyliberala regimer. Morales beskrivs ofta som landets första president med bakgrund i ursprungsbefolkningen. Hans regering utlovade en radikal omställning av den nationella politiken och tillkännagav att Bolivia nu är en "plurinationell stat". Under MAS har ursprungsfolkstillhörighet rört sig från en marginaliserad ställning till en central position i nationell politik, och blivit en viktig förutsättning för politisk legitimitet.



Denna utveckling återspeglas i miljöpolitiken. I internationella sammanhang har den bolivianska regeringen... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) bildade regering i Bolivia 2006 med Evo Morales på presidentposten, framburna av folkliga protester mot tidigare, nyliberala regimer. Morales beskrivs ofta som landets första president med bakgrund i ursprungsbefolkningen. Hans regering utlovade en radikal omställning av den nationella politiken och tillkännagav att Bolivia nu är en "plurinationell stat". Under MAS har ursprungsfolkstillhörighet rört sig från en marginaliserad ställning till en central position i nationell politik, och blivit en viktig förutsättning för politisk legitimitet.



Denna utveckling återspeglas i miljöpolitiken. I internationella sammanhang har den bolivianska regeringen intagit en radikal ståndpunkt och presenterat en alternativ modell för hållbarhet grundat i andinsk ursprungsfolkstradition, en " livets kultur" som ställs i motsats till en västerländsk, kapitalistisk "dödens kultur". Dock har kritiska röster i Bolivia anklagat MAS för att använda sig av aspekter av ursprungsfolkskultur som en strategi för att rättfärdiga sina egna politiska intressen, utan att tillämpa sina gröna ideal på nationell nivå. Bolivias ekonomi är beroende av utvinning och export av naturresurser, en trend som inte har minskat under Morales tid vid makten. Samtidigt som hans regering framhåller ursprungsfolks traditioner och rättigheter, står den bakom initiativ till ökad naturresursutvinning och storskaliga infrastrukturprojekt. Detta väcker frågor om vilka anspråk som är mest legitima och vilkas rättigheter som bör beaktas när olika aktörer uttrycker motstridiga krav i ursprungsbefolkningars namn.



I denna avhandling utforskas två teman som dominerat miljöpolitiken i Bolivia på senare år: MAS ' positionering i internationella klimatförhandlingar, och konflikten kring planerna på att bygga en motorväg tvärs igenom TIPNIS, en nationalpark som styrs av tre ursprungsbefolkningsgrupper. Med utgångspunkt i poststrukturalistisk och postkolonial feministisk teori analyserar jag intersektionella maktrelationer i boliviansk miljöpolitik, genom att undersöka två figurationer: den utrotningshotade glaciären, och det ekologiska ursprungsfolkssubjektet. Dessa har blivit symboliskt viktiga, och har mobiliserats av en mängd olika aktörer för vitt skilda syften. Genom att situera dessa figurationer i nationella och internationella diskurser visar jag hur de skiftar i betydelse och hur de kan både förstärka och utmana rådande maktrelationer. Forskningsmaterialet baseras på etnografiskt fältarbete och insamling av skrivna texter. Genom denna studie av Bolivia under Morales, visar jag hur makt tar sig uttryck i formuleringen av miljöproblem och tänkta lösningar; frågor som har relevans för forskning om miljöfrågor även i andra sammanhang. (Less)
Abstract
Evo Morales and the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) took office in Bolivia in 2006, riding on the wave of fierce popular protests against previous, neoliberal regimes. Morales was depicted as the country’s first indigenous president. His government promised a radical transformation of national politics and rebranded Bolivia as a “plurinational state”. Under MAS, indigenous subjectivity has moved from a marginalized position to center stage, and become a key condition for political legitimacy.



This development is reflected in environmental politics. In international forums, the Bolivian government has claimed to represent a green indigenous alternative, a “culture of life”, as opposed to a Western, capitalist “culture of... (More)
Evo Morales and the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) took office in Bolivia in 2006, riding on the wave of fierce popular protests against previous, neoliberal regimes. Morales was depicted as the country’s first indigenous president. His government promised a radical transformation of national politics and rebranded Bolivia as a “plurinational state”. Under MAS, indigenous subjectivity has moved from a marginalized position to center stage, and become a key condition for political legitimacy.



This development is reflected in environmental politics. In international forums, the Bolivian government has claimed to represent a green indigenous alternative, a “culture of life”, as opposed to a Western, capitalist “culture of death”. However, on home ground, critics have accused MAS of coopting aspects of indigenous identity for its own interests and not applying its green agenda within the national borders. The national economy is dependent on intense extraction and export of natural resources, a trend which has not diminished under Morales. Thus, the first Bolivian government to frame itself as indigenous now stands behind initiatives for resource extraction and infrastructural expansion. This raises questions about whose rights are privileged when different actors express conflicting claims based on indigeneity.



In this thesis, two salient themes are explored: MAS’ positioning in international climate change negotiations, and the conflict around the plans to construct a highway across the TIPNIS national park and indigenous territory. Drawing on poststructural and postcolonial feminist theory, I analyze intersecting processes of power in Bolivian environmental struggles by unwrapping two figurations: the endangered glacier and the ecological indigenous. These have become emblematic, and are mobilized by various actors for different purposes. Situating these figurations in national and international discourses, I show how they may shift in meaning and both reinforce and challenge relations of power. The research material was generated through ethnographic fieldwork and collection of written texts. Through this study of contemporary Bolivia, I shed light on how power dynamics play out in the framing of environmental problems and their solutions; questions which should be central to research on environmental issues in all contexts. (Less)
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author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor Canessa, Andrew, University of Essex, Great Britain
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
political ecology, environmental discourse, subject formation, feminist theory, multi-sited ethnography, scales, figurations, indigeneity, climate change, glacier retreat, TIPNIS
in
Lund Dissertations in Sustainability Science
volume
9
pages
189 pages
defense location
Världen, Geocentrum I, Sölvegatan 10, Lund
defense date
2014-05-09 13:15
ISBN
978-91-979832-6-6
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
1b6bc261-9d7c-48ab-b97e-1891e810096f (old id 4393771)
date added to LUP
2014-04-17 08:31:37
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:19
@misc{1b6bc261-9d7c-48ab-b97e-1891e810096f,
  abstract     = {Evo Morales and the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) took office in Bolivia in 2006, riding on the wave of fierce popular protests against previous, neoliberal regimes. Morales was depicted as the country’s first indigenous president. His government promised a radical transformation of national politics and rebranded Bolivia as a “plurinational state”. Under MAS, indigenous subjectivity has moved from a marginalized position to center stage, and become a key condition for political legitimacy. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
This development is reflected in environmental politics. In international forums, the Bolivian government has claimed to represent a green indigenous alternative, a “culture of life”, as opposed to a Western, capitalist “culture of death”. However, on home ground, critics have accused MAS of coopting aspects of indigenous identity for its own interests and not applying its green agenda within the national borders. The national economy is dependent on intense extraction and export of natural resources, a trend which has not diminished under Morales. Thus, the first Bolivian government to frame itself as indigenous now stands behind initiatives for resource extraction and infrastructural expansion. This raises questions about whose rights are privileged when different actors express conflicting claims based on indigeneity. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
In this thesis, two salient themes are explored: MAS’ positioning in international climate change negotiations, and the conflict around the plans to construct a highway across the TIPNIS national park and indigenous territory. Drawing on poststructural and postcolonial feminist theory, I analyze intersecting processes of power in Bolivian environmental struggles by unwrapping two figurations: the endangered glacier and the ecological indigenous. These have become emblematic, and are mobilized by various actors for different purposes. Situating these figurations in national and international discourses, I show how they may shift in meaning and both reinforce and challenge relations of power. The research material was generated through ethnographic fieldwork and collection of written texts. Through this study of contemporary Bolivia, I shed light on how power dynamics play out in the framing of environmental problems and their solutions; questions which should be central to research on environmental issues in all contexts.},
  author       = {Kaijser, Anna},
  isbn         = {978-91-979832-6-6},
  keyword      = {political ecology,environmental discourse,subject formation,feminist theory,multi-sited ethnography,scales,figurations,indigeneity,climate change,glacier retreat,TIPNIS},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {189},
  series       = {Lund Dissertations in Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Who is Marching for Pachamama? An Intersectional Analysis of Environmental Struggles in Bolivia under the Government of Evo Morales},
  volume       = {9},
  year         = {2014},
}