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Volume 57 / Social Sciences


KEVIN J. HEALY, Foundation Representative, Inter-American Foundation, Rosslyn, Virginia


ONCE AGAIN, THE DOMINANT THEME of the biennium in Bolivia is the role of ethnicity in national politics and society. There are new and insightful interpretations of the contemporary historical evolution of ethnicity in politics (items bi 96022853 and bi 96009752), as well as an analysis of the contradictions of the Confederación Sindical Unica de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSTUCB) led by the Tupak Katari indigenous movement (items bi 96021991 and bi 96021993). These works offer a critical perspective of the commitment to Andean cultural values and institutions by this widely esteemed social movement in social science literature.

Indigenous cultural issues also rise in publications about the medical and spiritual practices of traditional healers in the Bolivian Andes (item bi 96010086), the Bolivian Catholic Church’s inculturation approach to evangelization among the Aymara in recent decades (item bi 96001488), and the diversity of agricultural ritual among communities in the Andean region of Charazani (item bi 95024838). An important contribution to the political economy of cultural change is the work on Guarani Indian communities analyzing how households straddle between market and non-market strategies in meeting subsistence needs and maintaining a strong ethnic identity (item bi 95025638).

Bolivia’s coca-cocaine literature continues to grow, although not at the same rate as in the past. An important contribution is the edited volume on the multifaceted coca-cocaine issue that uses multidisciplinary analytical tools (item bi 97015655). The volume contains various angles of this controversial issue’s effect on the economy, society and international relations. The material is fresh and the focuses often are innovative given the framework being used. There are new publications produced by the Bolivian NGO SEAMOS in this collection which are less analytical.

Gender research continue to loom large in this collection of publications. The focus is on discrimination toward migrant women (item bi 96010080), grassroots development experiences (item bi 96010077) including a small-scale sweater-knitting enterprise (item bi 96010058), and women’s participation as leaders in political parties (item bi 96010057).


In Paraguay, as in Bolivia, ethnic representation in the political sphere is a major theme. Some publications examine the level of political development attained by the country’s largest and most representative indigenous organization, especially its progress in securing new land rights for its members (items bi 95022185 and bi 96022874).

New perspectives on gender issues abound in Paraguay as well. One work addresses the impact of educational reform for university women (item bi 95022013), and another analyzes reproductive behavior (item bi 95022012).

The production of new data and interpretations on the Paraguayan peasant sector has slowed in recent years, especially relating to understanding the rapidly expanding impact of globalization on Paraguayan society and economy. Instead, interest has focused on providing a profile of institutions working toward developmental and sociopolitical changes in the countryside as a statement about the growth in civil society, useful sociological contributions for grassroots activism (items bi 96010070 and bi 95025160).

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