Paradoxes of Multiculturalism in Bolivia

  • Andrew CanessaEmail author
Part of the Studies of the Americas book series (STAM)


Bolivia is a clear example of a country which has put multiculturalism at the very centre of its political ideology: not only does the current Morales administration endorse the politics of multiculturalism, but the very principles of a multicultural and pluriethnic nation are enshrined in the 2009 Constitution. This chapter explores some of the paradoxes at the heart of this multicultural nation where the new language of indigeneity serves to liberate the subaltern masses but also excludes others with less access to discourses of power. In Bolivia, multiculturalism is rooted in a recognition of indigenous cultural difference, but there is a tendency to prefer some indigenous identities over others as well as to homogenize the experience of being indigenous. Multiculturalism can thus serve to obscure the ways some groups are excluded even though the position and status of indigenous people as a whole is celebrated.


Indigenous people Interethnic conflict Bolivia Citizenship 


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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of EssexColchesterUK

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