Indigenous politics and democracy: contesting citizenship in Latin America

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Ethnic cleavages have rarely given rise to political organizing and sustained political conflict in Latin America. Over the past two decades, however, Latin America has witnessed a wave of rural organizing and movement building that mobilizes Indians as Indians to advance and defend self-proclaimed indigenous rights. This paper addresses why indigenous has become a more salient basis of political organizing and source of political claims in Latin America over the past two decades. After analyzing alternative theoretical approaches, the paper proposes a historically grounded comparative analysis that situates indigenous and movement formation in relation to the process of state building and the changing terms of citizenship. Drawing on social movement theory, the author suggests the conditions under which identity and organization have merged to generate indigenous movements in the region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalWorking Paper - Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies
StatePublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development


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