• Charles Sturtevant

Student thesis: Master of Philosophy


This thesis consists of a film and an accompanying text. Both documents are fundamentally concerned with questions about how belonging is claimed and contested in the town of Chicaloma. The film presents these processes and the everyday tensions that occupy Chicalomeños. The text provides historical context and analyses this material in reference to existing literature. Both works are set in the town of Chicaloma, the capital of the Chicaloma canton in the Yungas region of Bolivia. Chicaloma is often represented as an Afro-Bolivian town, but the influx of large numbers of migrants from the highlands has complicated this situation. In Chicaloma, fulfilling obligations as a sindicato member or in relation to a public service committee and claims of historical permanence - particularly claims of direct descent from colonos who laboured on the pre-revolution haciendas - form the core of local citizenship practices. At stake are the means to generate income from coca sales and access to public services such as water and electricity. This project looks at how claims to belonging based on reference to historical permanence are deployed in negotiations over access to these resources, and particularly how these claims intersect with ethnoracial identity. I will analyse the tensions that arise in these claims to belonging in light of academic challenges that question the idea of citizenship as a set of rights and obligations in relation to a nation state. Particularly, I want to look at challenges which focus on practices through which people construct community - here understood broadly to mean simultaneously, town, region, religious group, productive sector, union, as well as nation (Goudsmit, 2006, Lazar, 2008, Stack, 2003, Stack and Gordon, 2007). The contradictions and tensions that arise in light of the intersection between these citizenship practices, on the one hand, and ethnoracial sensibilities on the other hand, reveal them to be fraught with tension, conflict and exclusion. This will contribute to academic literature calls into question the idea of citizenship as a set of rights and obligations in relation to a nation state, particularly literature that focuses on practices through which people construct their community and themselves in relation to that community. I draw heavily on Jan Hoffman French's work on the relationship between legal processes and identification in the northeast of Brazil and Sian Lazar's work on practices of citizenship and belonging in El Alto.
Date of Award31 Dec 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAngela De Souza Torresan (Supervisor) & Peter Wade (Supervisor)


  • Ethnicity
  • Bolivia
  • Afro-Bolivian
  • Race
  • Citizenship practices
  • Citizenship
  • Belonging

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