• Part of
    Ubiquity Network logo

    Read Chapter
  • No readable formats available
  • The Emergence of Indigenous Nationalism in Bolivia: Social Movements and the MAS State

    Nancy Postero

    Chapter from the book: Postero, N. 2017. The Indigenous State: Race, Politics, and Performance in Plurinational Bolivia.


    The chapter analyzes the birth of the MAS party and its efforts to articulate three very different lines of struggle—for indigenous rights, economic justice, and popular democracy. We see how the formerly dispossessed and excluded came together to form an alliance that enabled them to take state power and defeat the various opposition groups, particularly the white/mestizo elite from the lowlands. As a result, this alliance is also fraught with tensions. I describe one important mechanism by which the Morales government maintains its popularity: in public spectacles, Morales and his government position themselves as representatives of all Bolivia’s indigenous peoples, claiming the legacy of anticolonial warriors of the eighteenth century. I inquire into the ways indigeneity became the central trope for the Morales government, and how this was performed by Morales and the state using cultural and historical images. Here we see how decolonization and indigeneity can serve as a form of emancipatory politics, to use Ranciere’s term, rupturing the “distribution of the sensible” and creating new possibilities for social justice.

    Chapter Metrics:

    How to cite this chapter
    Postero, N. 2017. The Emergence of Indigenous Nationalism in Bolivia: Social Movements and the MAS State. In: Postero, N, The Indigenous State. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.31.b

    This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + ShareAlike 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s)

    Peer Review Information

    This book has been peer reviewed. See our Peer Review Policies for more information.

    Additional Information

    Published on May 5, 2017