Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Kate Centellas

Relational Format



How is the natural environment used and understood in contemporary Bolivian politics? To answer this question, this thesis examines two environmental conflicts, one past and one contemporary. In 2011, indigenous communities from the Indigenous Territory and Isiboro Secure National Park participated in the Eighth March for Territory and Dignity to protest the Villa Tunari—San Ignacio de Moxos Highway planned for construction through the TIPNIS. Using the existing literature, I show how this protest utilized distinct forms of environmentalism to combat state resource claims. My contribution to the field is the exposition of how the environment is used and understood surrounding the indigenous resistance to the Chepete-Bala dam. I have found that, much like the TIPNIS conflict, the indigenous peoples from Madidi national park and the Pilón Lajas reserve utilize their indigenous identity to craft a distinct place-based environmentalism to combat government claims to their territory. Additionally, through careful examination of the Coordinadora Para La Defensa De La Amazonia's actions and statements, I uncover the nuanced politics that non-governmental organizations must navigate in order to express any type of environmentalism in Bolivia. I argue that these development projects cannot be fully understood without attention to the ways in which both state, indigenous, and other non-governmental actors use and construct their understanding of the environment. This original research serves to add to the existing literature on socioenvironmental conflicts in Bolivia, and in light of global climate change, it hopes to more broadly inform socioenvironmental policy-making by impressing the importance that social factors have on the natural world.


A thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for completion of the Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

Included in

Anthropology Commons



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