Generación Transformación – Et speciale om unge oprindelige bolivianeres politiske deltagelse

Start date: 14 November, 2012 End date: 21 December, 2012 Project type: Master's Thesis (prior to 2018) Project code: A19234 Countries: Bolivia Institutions: Roskilde University (RUC), Denmark Grant recipient: Rikke Friis Højland Total grant: 15,000 DKK



The thesis examines how indigenous youngsters experience to be marginalized and excluded from the public and political sphere in El Alto and how they try to gain influence. El Alto is a poor rural-urban city located at the Bolivian altiplano 400 meters above the capital city of La Paz. Its citizens, the alteños, are mainly migrants from the countryside and the mining towns and most consider themselves to be indigenous people.

The thesis begins by setting the scene and providing information on the history and organization of El Alto, specifying the distinctive alteño identity and the norms and structures of the city. The thesis argues that because of the generational and socio-economic structures and norms in El Alto there is an adultcentric and static perception of youth. This means that young people rarely have the opportunity to participate in the conventional political system even though they wish to. Young people under the age of 25 account for over 60 % of the population of El Alto, and it is the central argument of the thesis, that more than half the population are excluded from the decision processes if young people are not taken into account.

By giving an insight into the practices of the active young people in El Alto, the thesis aims at exploring what the rural-urban indigenous youngsters do to try to gain influence in their society. The thesis argues that the youngsters seek empowerment through their agency on alternative and creative platforms such as theater, rap music, video making etc.

The thesis concludes with a discussion of whether the practices of the young people can lead to a social transformation in Bolivia and bring more equality and participation for young people. The actions of the youngsters are discussed in the light of the recently adopted youth law, la Ley de Juventud, from February 2013.