Diversity and Democracy in Bolivia:
Sources of Inclusion in an Indigenous Majority Society
Publication Date: May 2017
Despite economic expansion in recent years, high levels of poverty and economic inequality persist among members of Bolivia indigenous majority. The election of the country’s first indigenous president in 2005 marked a transformative turn in the country’s national identity—away from the assimilationist ideas of nationhood espoused by white or mestizo elites to a more inclusive “plurinational” conception of identity. New constitutional commitments to cultural rights, indigenous rights, social and economic rights and protections against discrimination have been adopted but have proved difficult to implement, as the country’s long-standing dependence on natural resource extraction and export complicates the real politics of rule. In respect to indigenous rights and majority politics, what are the limits of Bolivia’s discursive shift?