Narrow margins, stern sovereignty

Juxtaposing transnational and local features of Bolivia's crisis

in Focaal
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This article argues that the current Bolivian political crisis is ‘made’ both internally and abroad. Yet it is much more than a simple adding up of the two constituent factors: external influences are always mediated by local actors. Local actors turn these influences into meaningful issues and demands in the Bolivian political context. These actors, in turn, are co-constituted by external forces, as is the case with the prominent indigenous movements in the country: their self- awareness and identity politics in part depend upon support and discourses of a transnational nature. The fact that these indigenous movements insist on sovereignty and self-determination with regard to the use of Bolivia’s natural resources is a case in point. This demand, at the same time, is articulated in a setting in which this sovereignty suffers from tightening margins due to the external obligation to restructure both the state and the economy.