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Title: Between the rights of nature and the right to develop : Bolivia under Evo Morales
Author: McCormick, Callum
ISNI:       0000 0004 6352 9286
Awarding Body: Birkbeck, University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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The government of Evo Morales is emblematic of the new left governments in Latin America that emerged at the beginning of the 21st century. Growing out of a crisis of the neoliberal project in Latin America as a whole and Bolivia in particular, Morales’ government has overseen a period of economic and political stability in a country not known for either. Globally, Morales has become associated with the ‘rights of nature’ discourse and radical environmentalism, being named the ‘World Hero of Mother Earth’ by the General Assembly of the United Nations. At the same time, however, the model of development pursued by his government has continued to rely on the extractive industries to produce economic growth. This has produced fractures within the social movements on whose behalf Morales claims to govern. My argument in this dissertation is that it is only possible to understand the contradictions of environmental policy in the Morales era by reflecting on the particular features of Bolivian society. During his tenure, the ‘defence of Mother Earth’ has been vitiated by a commitment to territorial sovereignty and national development, which the government has justified by reference to what I call the ‘right to develop’. It is only by understanding the interaction of these two competing ‘rights’, I will claim, that we can analyse the nature of Morales’ project thus far and assess its prospects for long term political and environmental sustainability. I also argue that critical assessment of the Bolivian experience under Morales can illuminate wider challenges facing political movements committed to elaborating an environmentally sustainable and socially equitable development model in the 21st century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available