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- Associate professor
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Promo Master Anthropology
Regional focus on Latin America, in particular Boliva, to a lesser degree on Ecuador, Chile and other countries of the region. Thematic focus on social movements and grass root organizations, democratization and culture, political and urban cultures, citizenship and popular culture.
Board memberships and management tasks 2016/2017
Head of SCA Department
In Bolivia as well as in other countries in Latin America and across the globe, citizenship-debates thrive. In Bolivia, in 2006, the first indigenous president ever (Evo Morales) rose to power. His administration, amongst many other measures and new policies, promised to bring a 'new democracy'; a democracy in which cultural and ethnic differences would be acknowledged and honored, and find a place in the country's constitution, state institutions and participation channels. In this new constellation, the traditional, individual liberal democracy rights and liberties would be combined with group- and cultural rights for the various indigenous peoples in the country. Issues like a place for both communitary next to statutory administration of justice, like a place for traditional, collective democratic decision-making next to one-man-one-vote-representation, like a 'cultured' form of citizenship, and like the role of social movements (the 'organized civil society) in monitoring governance, became prominent and controversial themes in national debates - but are connected to similar debates in other countries searching for a more 'genuine', participatory and more appealing democratic edifice.
I am in particular interested in how such initiatives and new arrangements are received and appreciated among the Bolivian 'rank and file'. Do they feel they have more democratic rights today? Are these opinions different for different sectors of the population? Are new democratic practices and strategies being developed and practiced? And how do people think about the frequent accusation that, in practice, this government is intolerant and authoritarian rather than an innovator of democracy?
The government, once again, easily won the national elections of 2014. Obviously, they had many things to campaign with: new referenda, the consultation of indigenous people whenever policies affecting their territoria were designed, the access social movements have to government circles - as well a solid economic growth, increasing employment opportunities, generous subsidies and credits, and less inefficient state institutions. But the critics insist the government is very selective in who, and which social movements, will be received by the authorities, states that the government tends to disqualify critics rather than dialogue with them, and has too much hunger for power.
Again, the most intriguing question is how all these issues are experienced "on the ground": who believe democracy, and the citizenship-status, has improved and was enriched? Who believe they are the new-excluded? A sort of 'ethnography of democracy and citizenship' is required to answer that type of questions.
A second line of research concerns my participation in the broader 'GOMIAM-project' on small scale gold mining in the Amazon (including Bolivia). In it, I focus on conflict-analysis, and on the socio-cultural backdrop of the ways miners organize, frame their interests and enter into conflict or negotiation with the state and other stakeholders on and around the areas where they develop their mining activities.
2012 (With Willem Assies and Marco Calderón) “Ciudadanía, cultura política y reforma del Estado en América Latina”, in Jaime LLambías Wolff (ed.) América Latina: interrogantes y perspectivas, Toronto/Valparaíso: York University/Universidad de Valparaíso, pp 115-138 .
2011 “Customary law in search for balance: Bolivia’s quest for a new concept of “rights” and the construction of ethnicity”, in Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, 36(72), 111-143
2010 “Social movements in a split: Bolivia’s protesters after their triumph”, in International Journal of Sociology and Anthropology Vol. 2(9), 185-197.
2005 (Edited volume, with Willem Assies & Marco Calderón): Citizenship, Political Culture and State Transformation in Latin America, Amsterdam: Dutch University Press/Zamora: El Colegio de Michoacán.
June 2011: Guest Lecturer, Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Santiago, Chile, PhD-course Ciudadanía, etnicidad, democracia y cultura.
June-July 2010: Guest lecturer, FLACSO Ecuador, PhD course on ‘Culture, Democracy, Citizenship, Ethnicity’.
Contributions to CERES-courses (2014, 2015)
Contributions to GSSS-course (2014)