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Indigenous peoples and their demands in political systems

Author(s): Willem Assies

Journal: Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals
ISSN 1133-6595

Issue: 85-86;
Start page: 89;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Latin America | indigenism | political systems | cultural plurality | political participation | social participation

During the last two decades of the 20th century, indigenous groups mobilised themselves in many countries in Latin America with the aim of calling for various rights based on their ethnic status. This phenomenon is the subject that the author tackles in this article. To this end, he places the emergence of these movements in context, describes their characteristics, analyses their proposals and discusses the prominence that indigenous movements have acquired in different national political arenas. He also presents the impact that certain indigenous demands have had –such as those of the self-determination of land, the use of their own resources and the implementation of ethno-development– on the way in which politics is carried out (and understood) in Latin American countries. Finally, the text analyses how indigenous movements have become important social actors for the new left, and the ways in which they have developed new ways of organisation and mobilisation through networks, alternative discourses and new repertories of collective action. In view of all of this, the author concludes that Latin America has become, once again, a fascinating laboratory that is deserving of the attention of scholars, both in the region itself and in other parts of the planet.
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