Indigenous Media and Political Imaginaries in Contemporary Bolivia

Indigenous Media and Political Imaginaries in Contemporary Bolivia

Indigenous Media and Political Imaginaries in Contemporary Bolivia

Indigenous Media and Political Imaginaries in Contemporary Bolivia

Synopsis

Gabriela Zamorano Villarreal examines the political dimension of indigenous media production and distribution as a means by which indigenous organizations articulate new claims on national politics in Bolivia, a country experiencing one of the most notable cases of social mobilization and indigenous-based constitutional transformation in contemporary Latin America. Based on fieldwork in Bolivia from 2005 to 2007, Zamorano Villarreal details how grassroots indigenous media production has been instrumental to indigenous political demands for a Constituent Assembly and for implementing the new constitution within Evo Morales's controversial administration.


On a day-to-day basis, Zamorano Villarreal witnessed the myriad processes by which Bolivia's indigenous peoples craft images of political struggle and enfranchisement to produce films about their role in Bolivian society. Indigenous Media and Political Imaginaries in Contemporary Bolivia contributes a wholly new and original perspective on indigenous media worlds in Bolivia: the collaborative and decolonizing authorship of indigenous media against the neoliberal multicultural state, and its key role in reimagining national politics. Zamorano Villarreal unravels the negotiations among indigenous media makers about how to fairly depict a gender, territorial, or justice conflict in their films to promote grassroots understanding of indigenous peoples in Bolivia's multicultural society.

Excerpt

“What do we want?,” shouts a male voice over the moving image of a group of lowland peasants heading a march. “The Constituent Assembly!,” chants the crowd. While a man waves a flag representing the state of Santa Cruz, two men and a woman carry a large sign that advocates for the Assembly. “When?,” the man shouts again. “Nooow!,” the multitude responds. the mass of people occupies a narrow downtown street in La Paz. Titles on the screen indicate that this scene was recorded in 2002, when the march organized by the Bolivian Indigenous Peoples’ Confederation (CIDOB, Confederación de Pueblos Indígenas de Bolivia) gained stronger attention to their claim for a national constituent assembly in Bolivia. the sequence cuts to another march image, from 2005, this time showing a multitude winding along a road surrounded by an ochre Andean landscape.

These images constitute the initial sequence of Todos en el camino (Everybody on the way, 2008), a film documenting the march that peasant, indigenous, miner, worker, and other social organizations made over the course of ten days to the city of La Paz in October 2008 to support the call for a referendum to approve the new constitutional text. This text resulted from the Constituent Assembly process developed from 2006 to 2008. the film was produced by indigenous media makers who took part in the nongovernmental National Plan of Indigenous Audiovisual Communication (Plan Nacional Indígena Originario de Comunicación Audiovisual), an initiative that has worked since 1997 with indigenous . . .

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