Research on urban change, identity and mobility in La Paz, Bolivia

In the last ten years, La Paz has transformed. Incredible economic growth and a government keen to overturn centuries of colonialism, inequality and exclusion, have led to the emergence of an ‘Aymara Bourgeoisie’* –  people of indigenous or mestizo descent who have made their money in the vast informal markets of El Alto and La Paz, and have been able to benefit from the favourable economic and political conditions brought by the government of Evo Morales and his Movement towards Socialism party. The Aymara Bourgeoisie have transformed La Paz, creating architecture, fashion and patterns of mobility that challenge not only the status quo in the city, but some of the central tenets of critical urban theory.
This project is sponsored by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship, RF-2015-331. The research assistants on this project are Natalia Casanovas and Alison Parrado. Thanks also due to Rafael Loayza, Sergio Marín, Winston Moore, Guadalupe Peres, Alan Shave, Lidya Shave, and Juan Carlos Valdivia.

*Variously called the ‘chola bourgeoisie’, ‘proto-bourgeoisie’, or ‘wealthy popular class’, see Rea Campos (2016) for overview.

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