Por las propias manos/In our own hands: Resistance and representation on the margins of urban Bolivia
AdvisorPhilips, Susan U.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation is concerned with questions of collective identity, political process, and the relationships between one self-identifying community on the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia and the larger systems of institutional power and authority to which that community is subordinated. It examines the practices of representation that are ongoing in the barrio of Villa Sebastian Pagador, the ways in which community leaders and residents elaborate images of and ideas about the barrio and project these to outsiders. The audience for these presentations is broad, but particularly includes representatives of the state and the municipal government, those people with the ability to improve the quality of life of barrio residents. By representing Villa Pagador as a "community," a group of people of shared origins working together for a common future, the people of Pagador hope to persuade the municipal and national authorities to aid them in their efforts to transform local infrastructure, and to negotiate a more positively valued identity for themselves as a community within the greater urban center of Cochabamba. Relying on a triangulated methodology that includes long-term participant-observation in the study community, informal interviewing of barrio leaders and residents, and the collection of a large corpus of secondary-source materials, this dissertation seeks to analyze the processes of community formation in Villa Pagador. In doing so, it conceptualizes community formation as a kind of resistance process, a way to contest the imposition of a pejorative identity that excludes urban migrants from the mainstream of urban national life. People in Villa Pagador resist the identity of a "marginal barrio" imposed upon them within the broader context of Bolivian society, in which urban migrant barrios are categorized as backward, isolated, uncivilized, and unimportant in the larger national social formation. By asserting their own centrality to the Bolivian nation, pagadoredos contest this sense of their own marginality, claiming instead that they are a community fully integral to the Bolivian nation and so deserving of attention from the legally constituted municipal and national authorities.
Degree ProgramGraduate College