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Indigenous identity, natural resources, and contentious politics in Bolivia: a disaggregated conflict analysis; 2000-2011

[journal article]

Mähler, Annegret; Pierskalla, Jan H.

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Abstract 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 subnational 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.
Keywords Bolivia; natural resources; cultural identity; ethnicity; social conflict; ethnic group; indigenous peoples; politicization; natural gas; minority policy; mobilization
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Document language English
Publication Year 2015
Page/Pages p. 301-332
Journal Comparative political studies, 48 (2015) 3
ISSN 1552-3829
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.