chapter  1
32 Pages

Colonialisms in/for Bolivia and IR

ByMarcos S. Scauso

Since much of the literature in International Relations focuses on examining colonialisms, this chapter briefly analyzes the epistemic regularities found between the discourses that created the projects of civilization in Bolivia between 1825, which is when the country gained independence from Spain, and the end of the Nationalist Revolution in 1964. First, I analyze the constructions of an oligarchic form of liberalism. These boundaries constructed a marginalizing and assimilationist understanding of “others” for Bolivia, but some of the epistemic assumptions and othering effects of liberalism can still be found in International Relations today. Second, I analyze the structuralist form of Marxism that became institutionalized in 1952. Despite their goal of emancipation, the Revolution imposed Eurocentric notions of class-based equality, which still hierarchicalized indigenous peoples as inferior “others.” In this section, I also discuss how other intellectuals continue to reproduce a similar epistemic stance in much of the literature of International Relations that focuses on “peasant” movements. Finally, the analysis of these two sets of discourses leads towards a conceptualization of the epistemic dimensions of colonial discourses and the discussion of the problem of difference.