Pluralism and Identity in Bolivia: Global Political Challenges

A teaching unit for grade 11/12 social science students


The following teaching unit can be used with the Social Science Global Politics course in the International Baccalaureate (IB) as well as any course exploring the complexity of the challenges we face in the 21st century. The materials provided examine the challenges to forming an inclusive national identity in Bolivia based on respect for all diverse groups. It focuses on the contemporary political developments that helped assert indigenous rights and the pathways taken by the Bolivian state towards pluralism. This unit is comprised of six tasks and offers a unique exploration of identity politics at a time when this has become a polarizing issue across the globe. Learning materials provide opportunities to examine identity politics in a multicultural society and the role of social movements, legal reform and attitudinal shifts in achieving social change. Although originally designed to correspond with IB curriculum, we are expecting that teachers will select the tasks and materials that are most appropriate for their context.

Please note that these materials cover events up until 2019. In order to include more recent events, we recommend supplementing this case study with current articles.


IB and non-IB teachers of upper-grade secondary (high school) students. This could also be used in the CÉGEP system in Quebec.


IB teachers are expected to take a case study approach to allow a deep and conceptual understanding of these units.


  • Power, Legitimacy and Sovereignty
  • Peace and Conflict
  • Development and Globalization
  • Identity
  • Human Rights
  • Interdependence and International Relations
  • Justice
  • Pluralism

    Learning Outcomes

    By the end of this unit learners will be able to:

    • Explain how a specific case study and a specific political issue relate to identity
    • Apply relevant key concepts, theories and ideas from the core units of analysis to the case
    • Evaluate the case study from different perspectives and in the wider context of global politics
    • Generate a self-directed, teacher-supported research process
    • Synthesize and present conclusions through an oral presentation


    This unit includes the following resources:

    • An overview which includes the information above, a Summary of Tasks and Works Cited
    • A student workbook with articles, tasks and activities
    • A slide presentation that accompanies the workbook and includes media clips (in PowerPoint) * available in PowerPoint format upon request

    About this Resource

    This unit was originally designed to support the IB Social Science course Global Politics. This teaching unit is related to a research paper on Bolivia commissioned by the Centre, “Diversity and Democracy in Bolivia: Sources of Inclusion in an Indigenous Majority Society,” written by Bret Gustafson.

    This teaching case study was produced by Vlad Gogelescu, a (former) Global Politics teacher with the International Baccalaureate (IB) in Amsterdam. This work has been developed independently from and is not endorsed by the IB.

    Photo credits:
    Kath Watson/