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October 2008
256 pages  

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Struggles of Voice
The Politics of Indigenous Representation in the Andes
Lucero, José Antonio
Over the last two decades, indigenous populations in Latin America have achieved remarkable visibility and political effectiveness, particularly in Ecuador and Bolivia. Lucero compares Ecuador's united indigenous movement to the more fragmented situation in Bolivia, and analyzes the mechanisms at work in political and social structures to explain the different outcomes in each country.

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José Antonio Lucero is assistant professor at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, Seattle.
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Over the last two decades, indigenous populations in Latin America have achieved a remarkable level of visibility and political effectiveness, particularly in Ecuador and Bolivia. In Struggles of Voice, José Antonio Lucero examines these two outstanding examples in order to understand their different patterns of indigenous mobilization and to reformulate the theoretical model by which we link political representation to social change. Building on extensive fieldwork, Lucero considers Ecuador's united indigenous movement and compares it to the more fragmented situation in Bolivia. He analyzes the mechanisms at work in political and social structures to explain the different outcomes in each case. Lucero assesses the intricacies of the many indigenous organizations and the influence of various NGOs to uncover how the conflicts within social movements, the shifting nature of indigenous identities, and the politics of transnationalism all contribute to the success or failure of political mobilization. Blending philosophical inquiry with empirical analysis, Struggles of Voice is an informed and incisive comparative history of indigenous movements in these two Andean countries. It helps to redefine our understanding of the complex intersections of social movements and political representation.
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“Lucero has written a fascinating and provocative book, incisively and systematically analyzing key questions about representativity among indigenous movements and providing critical insights into the complexity and heterogeneity of contemporary indigenous activism in the region.”—Amalia Pallares, University of Illinois at Chicago

“Simply put, Lucero's book is a must-read for students and scholars of indigenous politics and social movements in the Americas. His years of field research in the Andes and his insights into larger philosophical questions in social science—why are some voices perceived as more representative than others?—make Lucero's voice well worth listening to.”—Shannan L. Mattiace, Allegheny College

“Offers novel perspectives on politics of identity, mechanisms of inclusion and indigenous mobilization in Bolivia and Ecuador. He presents a keen, thorough, and well-informed analysis.” —A Contra Corriente

“An important and thoughtful contribution to the study of contemporary indigenous mobilizations in the Andes, with broad theoretical contributions to important issues of representation, how voices are constructed, and whose interests they serve.”—Hispanic American Historical Review

“Strikingly explores the different trajectories of indigenous politics for twenty-first-century Ecuador and Bolivia. . . . An insightful repositioning of the scholarship on indigenous movements in the Andes around the relationships implicated in, contests over, and emergent constructions of indigenous ‘voice.’”—Bulletin of Latin American Research


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