Re-producing territory: between resource nationalism and indigenous self-determination in Bolivia

Laing, Anna F (2019) Re-producing territory: between resource nationalism and indigenous self-determination in Bolivia. Geoforum, 108. pp. 28-38. ISSN 0016-7185

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In 2005, indigenous leader Evo Morales was elected president on a dual promise of nationalising extractive industries to direct resource wealth to the country’s poor and enacting long-held indigenous demands for a plurinational state. Each project has relied on two contrasting and contested understandings and practices of territorial sovereignty, however. On the one hand, resource nationalism has rested on the state’s ability to re-seat and extend national sovereignty over non-renewable natural resources and concomitantly national territory. On the other hand, plurinationalism entails the departure from a liberal multicultural framing of the nation-state toward a model that recognises the territorial self-determination and political autonomy of indigenous nations, including over decisions of extractive development. Resource nationalism has quickly shown its centralising tendencies, as economic concerns have been put before a more radical reorganisation of the modern, colonial model of territorial sovereignty. From an analysis of the territorial geographies articulated by the lowland indigenous movement in the TIPNIS (Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure; Isiboro Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park) conflict over a road project – and the potential for hydrocarbon exploitation this could enable – this paper demonstrates that indigenous protestors constantly sought to de- and re-territorialise political space in their efforts for the decolonisation of the nation-state. This engagement not only highlights some of the tensions between resource nationalism and indigenous self-determination, but also illustrates how territorial visions are fashioned within the changing political conditions of Latin America’s era of the extractive imperative.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
School of Global Studies > International Development
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2019 10:21
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2019 10:30

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