Chachawarmi: Rhetorics and Lived Realities

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Abstract

Latin America's turn away from neoliberalism and adoption of decolonising alternatives to development has been spearheaded—nowhere more so than Bolivia—by indigenous movements. The gender ideology of chachawarmi is part of this decolonisation programme, but has been criticised for disguising gendered exploitation. These tensions are explored by looking at, in Escobar's words, ‘the concrete struggles within particular communities’. Based on long-term research in rural Bolivia, this article situates the chachawarmi ideal in the multiple influences on the recreation of gender identities, and considers the complex ways in which chachawarmi as mobilised politically may influence gendered power.

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