Indigeneity, Race, and the Media from the Perspective of the 2019 Political Crisis in Bolivia

Speaker: Gabriela Zamorano (El Colegio de Michoacán, Mexico)

In this presentation I analyse the disputes over images related to indigeneity and plurinationalism in the post-electoral crisis in Bolivia, focusing mainly on the realm of social media. I pay particular attention to how images such as memes, photographs, and videos produced and circulated by the movement for “democracy” opposed to Evo Morales and by sectors of the Right, project ideals of national unity based on racialised imaginaries that tend to obliterate references to plurinationalism. I also analyse the dichotomous ways in which multitudes and episodes of violence were represented by the two main sides in the conflict, such as the references to “mobs” and “hordes” versus “civic movements” and “resistance” respectively. I conclude by considering examples of promotional materials that the past interim government of President Jeanine Añez developed since its inauguration, in order to reflect on the ways in which these display certain images of the “permitted Indian” for the national project that the social sector represented by her government outlined.