Identity-Based Appeals: Explaining Changing Strategies of the Indigenous Movement in Bolivia

Katie Kuhn


Current social movement literature does not adequately analyze how a movements strategies may change once a
member or even leader of that movement assumes the countrys highest office. Movements, especially those in
which identity plays a key role, gain the tool of identity-based appeals once their leader takes office, that is,
claiming that the new leader should act favorably to the movement because of their common characteristics.
Analysis of the Bolivian indigenous movement shows that since indigenous leader Evo Morales has assumed the
presidency, the movement has used this tactic toward various audiences in response to Morales incomplete
meeting of their policy demands. The movement first appealed directly to Morales, but has since shifted its focus
to the public, attempting to increase agitation by emphasizing the contrast between Morales discourse and
actions. This case shows that contrary to assumptions made in the ethnic parties literature, an ethnic leader will
not necessarily favor his base uniformly once he takes office. Rather, the movement continues, but now with a
different type of target - one which had previously been an ally.

Full Text:



Anthias, Penelope. Territorializing Resource Conflicts in Post-Neoliberal? Bolivia: Hydrocarbon Development and Indigenous Land Titling in TCO Itika Guasu, in New Political Spaces in Latin American Natural Resource Governance, ed. Hvard Haarstad (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

Artaraz, Kepa. Bolivia: Refounding the Nation (London: Pluto Press, 2012).

Barth, Fredrik. Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Culture Difference (Boston: Brown, 1969).

Bebbington, Anthony, and Denise Humphreys Bebbington, Post-What? Extractive Industries, Narratives of Development and Socio-environmental Disputes across the (Ostensibly

Changing) Andean Region, in Haarstad, H. New Political Spaces in Latin American Natural Resource Governance. (2012).

Benford, Robert D. "An Insider's Critique of the Social Movement Framing Perspective," Sociological Inquiry 67, no. 4 (1997).

Benford, Robert D. and David A. Snow, "Framing Processes and Social Movements: An Overview and Assessment," Annual Review of Sociology 26 (2000).

Benford, Robert D. and Scott A. Hunt, "Dramaturgy and Social Movements: The Social Construction and Communication of Power," Sociological Inquiry 62, no. 1 (1992).

Best, Joel. "Rhetoric in Claims-Making: Constructing the Missing Children Problem," Social Problems 34, no. 2 (1987) .

Biggs, Michael. How Suicide Protest Entered the Repertoire of Contention, Working Paper, 2012.

Birnir, Jhanna Kristn. Ethnicity and Electoral Politics, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

Brass, Paul R. Theft of an Idol: Text and Context in the Representation of Collective Violence (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997).

Brubaker, Rogers. Ethnicity Without Groups (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 2004).

Brubaker, Rogers, Mara Loveman, Peter Stamatov, Ethnicity as Cognition, Theory and Society 33, no. 1 (2004).

Jasper, James M. A Strategic Approach to Collective Action: Looking for Agency in Social Movement Choices,

Mobilization 9, no. 1 (2005).

Jasper, J. M. The art of moral protest: Culture, biography, and creativity in social movements. (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. 1999).

Johnston, Hank, and Bert Klandermans, Social Movements and Culture (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995).

Kalyvas, Stathis N. "Ethnic Defection in Civil War," Comparative Political Studies 41, no. 8


Kitschelt, Herbert P. Divergent Paths of Postcommunist Democracies, in Political Parties and

Democracy, ed. Larry Diamond and Richard Gunther. Species of Political Parties. (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001).

Kitschelt, H. Political opportunity structures and political protest: Anti-nuclear movements in four democracies. British journal of political science, 16(1), 57-85. (1986).

Koopmans, Ruud. "Movements and Media: Selection Processes and Evolutionary Dynamics in the Public Sphere," Theory and Society 33, no. 3-4 (2004).

Koopmans and Susan Olzak, Ruud. "Discursive Opportunities and the Evolution of Right-Wing Violence in Germany," American Journal of Sociology 110 (2004).

Koopmans, Ruud. "The Missing Link between Structure and Agency: Outline of an Evolutionary Approach to Social Movements," Mobilization 10 (2005).

Kriesi, Hanspeter et al, New Social Movements in Western Europe: A Comparative Analysis (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995).

Kubal, Timothy J. "The Presentation of Political Self: Cultural Resonance and the Construction of Collective Action Frames," The Sociological Quarterly 39, no. 4 (1998).

Kurzban, Robert, John Tooby, Leda Cosmides, "Can Race Be Erased? Coalitional Computation and Social Categorization," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the

United States of America 98, no. 26 (2001): 1538715392, accessed February 22, 2013,

Laitin, David. Marginality: A Microperspective, Rationality and Society, vol. 7 no. 1, 1995, p. 39

Laitin, David. Identity in Formation: The Russian-Speaking Populations in the New Abroad (London: Cornell University Press, 1998), p. 124-5.

Laitin, David. Nations, States, and Violence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), p. 44-45.

Laitin, David D. Hegemony and Culture: Politics and Religious Change Among the Yoruba (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986).

Laitin, David D. Marginality: A Microperspective, Rationality and Society 7, no. 1 (1995).

Laitin, David D. Identity in Formation: The Russian-Speaking Populations in the New Abroad (London: Cornell University Press, 1998).

Laitin, David D. Nations, States, and Violence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).

Lourdes Martnez-Echazbal, Mestizaje and the Discourse of National/Cultural Identity in Latin America, 1845-1959, Latin American Perspectives 25, no. 3 (1998).

Laraa, Enrique, Hank Johnston, and Joseph R. Gusfield, New Social Movements: From Ideology to Identity (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994).

Madrid, Ral L. The Rise of Ethnopopulism in Latin America, World Politics 60, no. 3 (2008).

Madrid, Ral L. Ethnic Proximity and Ethnic Voting in Peru, Journal of Latin American Studies 43, no. 2 (2011).

Madrid, Ral L. The Rise of Ethnic Politics in Latin America (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

McAdam, Doug, John D. McCarthy, and Mayer N. Zald, Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements: Political Opportunities, Mobilizing Structures, and Cultural Framings

(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).

McAdam, Doug and Dieter Rucht, "The Cross-National Diffusion of Movement Ideas," The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 528 (1993).

McAdam, Doug and Charles Tilly (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999).

McAdam, Doug. "Tactical Innovation and the Pace of Insurgency," American Sociological Review 48, no. 6 (1983).

McCarthy, John and Mayer N. Zald, "Resource Mobilization and Social Movements: A Partial Theory," American Journal of Sociology, vol. 82 no. 6, 1977

McNeish, John-Andrew. More than Beads and Feathers: Resource Extraction and the Indigenous Challenge in Latin America, in Haarstad, H. New Political Spaces in Latin

American Natural Resource Governance. (2012)

Mitchell, Paul. Party Competition in an Ethnic Dual Party System, Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol. 48 no. 2, 1995.

Morris, Aldon D. and Carol McClurg Mueller, Frontiers in Social Movement Theory (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992)

Mueller, John. The Banality of Ethnic War?, International Security 25, no. 1 (2000).

Park, K. The religious construction of sanctuary provision in two congregations. Sociological Spectrum, 18, 4, 393-421. (1998).

Pearce, Adrian J. Evo Morales and the Movimiento al Socialismo in Bolivia: The First Term in

Context, 2006-2010 (London: Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London, School of Advanced Study, 2011)

Pellegrini, L., & Arismendi, M. O. R. Consultation, Compensation and Extraction in Bolivia after the'Left Turn': The Case of Oil Exploration in the North of La Paz Department. Journal of Latin American Geography, 11(2), 103-120. (2012)

Polletta, F., & Jasper, J. M. Collective Identity and Social Movements. Annual Review of Sociology, 27, 283., 284-292. (2001).

Posner, Daniel N. Institutions and Ethnic Politics in Africa, (Los Angeles: University of California, 2005).

Posner, Daniel N. Regime Change and Ethnic Cleavages in Africa, Comparative Political Studies 40, no. 11 (2007).

Posner, Daniel N. The Colonial Origins of Ethnic Cleavages: The Case of Linguistic Divisions in Zambia, Comparative Politics 35, no. 2 (2003).

Rabushka, Alvin and Kenneth A. Shepsle, Politics in Plural Societies: A Theory of Democratic Instability (Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill, 1972)

Radcliffe, Sarah. Entangling Resistance, Ethnicity, Gender and Nation in Ecuador, in Entanglements of Power: Geographies of Entanglement and Resistance, ed. Joanne Sharp

et al (London: Routledge, 2000).

Sanjins, Ivn. Lecciones Aprendidas sobre Consulta Previa (La Paz, Bolivia: Centro de Estudios Jurdicos e Investigacin Social, 2010).

Schermerhorn, R.A. Comparative Ethnic Relations: A Framework for Theory and Research, (New York: Random House, 1970), 114-115.

Shoup, Brian. Conflict and Cooperation in Multi-Ethnic States (Oxford: Routledge, 2007).

Snow, David A., E. Burke Rochford, Jr., Steven K. Worden, and Robert D. Benford, "Frame Alignment Processes, Micromobilization, and Movement," American Sociological Review 51, no. 4 (1986).

Snow, David A and Robert D. Benford, "Ideology, Frame Resonance and Participant Mobilization," International Social Movement Research 10 (1988).

Snow, David A. and Robert D. Benford, "Master Frames and Cycles of Protest, in Morris and Mueller, Frontiers in Social Movement Theory. Yale University Press. (1992)

Stefanoni, Pablo. "Y quin no querra "vivir bien"? Encrucijadas del proceso de cambio boliviano," Cuadernos del Pensamiento Crtico Latinoamericano 49, no. 5 (2012)

Tarrow, Sidney G. Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

Tarrow, Sidney G. Democracy and Disorder: Protest and Politics in Italy, 1965-1975 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989).

Tilly, Charles. Getting it Together in Burgundy, 1675-1975, Theory and Society 4, no. 4 (1977).

Tilly, Charles. (1993). Contentious Repertoires in Great Britain, 1758-1834. In Traugott, Mark. Barricades as Repertoire: Continuities and Discontinuities in the History of

French Contention," Social Science History 17 (1993)

Tilly, Charles. Contentious Performances (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)

Traugott, Mark. Barricades as Repertoire: Continuities and Discontinuities in the History of French Contention," Social Science History 17 (1993)

Wade, Peter. Race and Ethnicity in Latin America (London: Pluto Press, 1997)

Weed, F. J. Framing of Political Advocacy and Service Responses in the Crime Victim Rights Movement, The. J. Soc. & Soc. Welfare, 24, 43. (1997)

White, A. M. "Talking Feminist, Talking Black! Micromobilization Processes in a Collective Protest against Rape." Gender & Society, 13(1), 77-100. (1999).


  • There are currently no refbacks.