Can a State Decolonize Itself? A Critical Analysis of Bolivia's State-Led Decolonization Process
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This study examines how state involvement has affected Bolivia’s decolonization process. By comparing interviews on decolonization with various indigenous organizations and with the state’s Vice Ministry of Decolonization, this study demonstrates how the Bolivian state claims to support and promote decolonization while at the same time radically reinterpreting the meaning of decolonization towards a direction that aligns with broader state interests. While many indigenous organizations link their demands for decolonization to the process of establishing indigenous self-determination and autonomy, the state promotes a “nationalist” version of decolonization which supports centralized state authority over indigenous territories and focuses primarily on the need to revalorize indigenous culture. The study’s central conclusions demonstrate how the state is an unlikely actor to effectively promote decolonization and how global theories on decolonization have, in part, enabled Bolivia’s current discursive struggle over the meaning of decolonization to emerge between the state and indigenous organizations.