Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Government and International Affairs

Major Professor



Citizenship, Democracy, Mobilization, Social Movements


The theme of ethnic identity in politics is gaining importance in countries such as Bolivia, where people recently elected their first indigenous President. The Indigenous movement has been able to incorporate themselves in the state apparatus and have produced new political policies and constitutional instruments. They represent an alternative to the "white" political elites who governed them for many decades. This study analyzes the dynamics within the Indigenous social movement in Bolivia and how they reinforced a composite vision of a participatory democratic society through political representation. The results of this participation (and, moreover, political representation) can be seen in the presidential election of 2005, as well as the election of senators and deputies and the new Constitution of 2009. The case studied here provides insight into the processes of how political representation can be obtained by the oppressed and excluded, in this case the indigenous people of Bolivia, who - for centuries - were a majority governed by a white minority. In this context, the importance of ethnicity and identity, in which discourses transformed views of an indigenous consciousness, can be seen in their political demands.