Indigenous Identity, Natural Resources, and Contentious Politics in Bolivia

Indigenous Identity, Natural Resources, and Contentious Politics in Bolivia

Source: Journal of Peace Research, 2015

Author(s): Annegret Mähler and Jan H. Pierskalla

Countries: Bolivia

Topics: Extractive Resources, Land, Renewable Resources

Added: 09/03/2017

 

How do natural resources and ethnic identity interact to incite or to mitigate social conflict? This article argues that high-value natural resources can act as an important catalyst for the politicization of ethnic, specifically indigenous identity, and contribute to social conflict as they limit the malleability of identity frames and raise the stakes of confrontations. We test this argument using unique sub-national data from Bolivian provinces. Drawing on Bolivian newspaper reports, we code conflict events for all of the 112 provinces from 2000 to 2011. We join this conflict data with information on local ethnic composition from the census, the political representation of ethnic groups at the national level, as well as geo-spatial information on gas deposits. Using time-series cross-sectional count models, we show a significant conflict-promoting effect of the share of indigenous people in provinces with gas reserves, but not without.

 

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