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Challenges to Neoliberal Hegemony in Bolivia

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Abstract

Since 1985, Bolivia has undergone three phases of the imposition of and popular resistance to neoliberal policies. This article charts the uneven course of neoliberal hegemony beginning with the structural adjustment program in the mid-1980s through popular uprisings between 2000 and 2003 that ousted the national government. Even though the current administration may be unable to resist World Bank and IMF pressure to continue neoliberal policies, powerful and diverse popular movements will certainly continue to contest them. This article makes two contributions to discussions of neoliberalism as a hegemonic system: it identifies problems of scale in maintaining neoliberalism, and it reminds us of the importance of coercion in maintaining hegemony.

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