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Union, Multitude and Community: Social Movements and Forms of Political Autonomy in Bolivia

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Chapter Summary

Bolivia is a country marked by the fragility of its institutional structures and its marginal position in the international setting. As a result of the socio-economic cataclysms, powerful and radical structures of social self-organisation have re-emerged, putting an end to the brief period of neoliberal legitimacy developed over fifteen years with the state-inflicted disruption of old forms of popular aggregation (unions), the moral collapse of the subaltern and a cultural industry of liberal consecration, which incorporated a wide range of disheartened ideologues and intellectuals. This chapter discusses characteristics of these emerging forms of social self-organisation, comparing them to the old union-form, examining the conditions that make them possible and their historical potential. Nations are social, territorial and cultural frontiers that exist first in the heads of fellow nationals, and which have the strength to become objectified in material and institutional structures.

Keywords: Bolivia; liberal reforms; social classes; social movements; social self-organisation



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