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Title: Indigenous organisation, mobilisation and electoral participation in rural Peru : a cultural interpretation of political process theory
Author: Fearn, S. J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 1128
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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At the end of the twentieth century, indigenous inhabitants across Latin America rose up to form organisations, participate in mass mobilisations, and successfully enter into electoral politics as never before. However, amongst the Latin American countries with significant indigenous populations, one group of indigenous citizens remained conspicuously quiet. Peru's indigenous people did not produce a strong national indigenous movement or an electorally viable ethnic party, nor did they mobilise to challenge government policy in sustained fashion. This study offers a new approach to explaining Peru's 'exceptionalism' within the continent-wide rise of indigenous movements. It begins by questioning sweeping generalisations that characterise Peruvian indigenous politics as 'weak' and by identifying eight principal trends that represent the pattern of indigenous political participation at the national and subnational levels in Peru. The study then seeks to explain these eight trends through an innovative, cultural reinterpretation of political process theory. Moving beyond the limitations of pre-existing arguments, which have been largely based on a structural reading of political process theory, it examines the role that the subjective understandings held by indigenous peasant actors play in shaping the pattern of indigenous political participation. Based on fieldwork carried out in three regions situated in the Andes and the Amazon, the thesis illustrates how imaginaries of the state, understandings of political parties and non-governmental organisations, and conceptualisations of ethnic-identity categories help to explain the pattern of indigenous political participation observed in the Peruvian case. The thesis not only provides new insights into indigenous politics at the national and subnational levels in Peru, but it also demonstrates the utility of a more cultural, interpretivist elucidation of how social organisations, mobilising groups, and political parties are actively encouraged, shaped, and discouraged at the micro-level.
Supervisor: Middlebrook, K. ; Drinot, P. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available