Reworking the spaces of indigeneity: The Bolivian ayllu and lowland autonomy movements compared

Tom Perreault, Barbara Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This paper examines the political uses of indigenous identity and how understandings of indigeneity are changing in contemporary Bolivia. In particular we address two interrelated questions: first, in what ways are understandings of indigeneity and the 'indigenous' changing in Bolivia, and to what effect? And, second, how does indigeneity inform conceptualizations of territory and the nation? We examine two ethnoterritorial projects and the organizations that represent them, in two different regions of Bolivia: the ayllu movement, as represented by the National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Qullasuyu and the Andean Oral History Workshop, and the lowland autonomy movement, as represented by the Camba Nation and the pro-Santa Cruz Committee. We argue that both the ayllu movement and the lowland autonomy movement are ethnoterritorial projects which mobilize essentialized understandings of indigenous identity in order to legitimate historical claims to territorial and political rights.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-60
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


  • Bolivia
  • Ethno-territorial project
  • Identity politics
  • Indigeneity
  • Indigenous

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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