Indigeneity as a base for rural development : a case study of the indigenous community Ramada, eastern Bolivia
Sammanfattning: Central to the field of agrarian political economy, is rural development and capitalism’s advancement in the countryside and its consequences for the peasantry, ‘the agrarian question’. With the present case study, I examine the interplay between social relations of production and agrarian change in eastern Bolivia. Using the case study of Ramada, a small indigenous community, this dissertation investigates how their livelihoods are affected by their local administration, the territorial unit TCO Turubó, by adopting a framework of agrarian political economy. The purview of this thesis is local, however, studying class dynamics in Ramada is used to analyse how the community interacts with and how it is situated within a broader context of social relations of production, between actors and across scale. Fieldwork conducted in and around Ramada provided the key empirical data for analysis, including household interviews and interviews with key informants. The main results conclude that unequal resource distribution within the TCO leads to a class differentiation process between communities. This is something the TCO does not account for in its very foundational terms and legislation in its administration of the indigenous peoples. Moreover, the TCO reproduces essentialist and romanticising ideas of indigeneity, which do not correspond to the challenges the community faces or the future they envision in terms of secure livelihoods. The third key finding is that only through precarious wage employment are they able to reproduce themselves as labour and capital, processes the TCO is meant to shield them from. Although the research is specific to Bolivia, it illustrates the usefulness of adopting an agrarian political economy framework on the local scale, for analysing social relations of production more broadly. The results can be seen as a basis for future research on the interplay between rural development and class dynamics.
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