Banners of Belonging
The Politics of Indigenous Identity in Bolivia & Guatemala

Edited By Staffan Lofving & Charlotta Widmark
December 2002
Department of Cultural Anthropology
ISBN: 91-506-1655-2
152 pages, Illustrated, 5 3/4" x 8 1/4"
$22.50 Paper Original

Indigenous culture entered the stage of political drama in Latin America during the last decades of the twentieth century. While a growing body of literature explores the turn from class-based political discourse and practice to politics of identity at the level of nation-states and international jurisprudence, this book focuses on the interaction between law, state and local movements and agents. It engages with the lived experience of those who are struggling for a Maya and an Ayamara political platform in the ongoing but unsteady process of democratization in Bolivia and Guatemala, and it challenges those who applaud the current state of affairs by measuring the policies of the state against a prevailing and disempowering structure of social exclusion, poverty and racism. But more than mere ethnography, this book features the accounts of two of the most distinguished public intellectuals and key players in the Ayamara and Maya contemporary struggles. Felix Layme's autobiographical "The Path to Freedom: The Struggle for Linguistic and Cultural Equity in Bolivia" is a critical inquiry into the allegedly good intentions of Bolivian multiculturalism, and Miguel Angel Velasco's "The Formation of My Self: Maya Identity from Within" brilliantly negotiates between a commitment to the judiciary process of a democratizing state and an indigenous identity beyond both party politics and the Guatemalan nation.

Uppsala-Leuven Research in Cultural Anthropology (ULRiCA)

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