| By D. Humphreys Bebbington and A. Bebbington | Published in Latin American Perspectives, vol. 37 no. 4 140-160 |
| Full text |
Abstract: In 2008, the Department of Tarija became the epicenter of national political struggles over political autonomy for lowland regions at odds with the Morales administration. In September, following a series of regional referenda on autonomy and a national recall election, citizen committees in Tarija mobilized urban-based sectors and organized a general strike against the central government. It is unhelpful to understand the strike as simply an act of political sabotage orchestrated by racist regional elites. The factors driving protest and interest in autonomy are varied and deeply related to patterns of hydrocarbons extraction in the department that have allowed for the mobilization of grievances and the cultivation of resource regionalism at departmental and intradepartmental scales. Alongside class and ethnicity, identities of place and region can be equally important in processes of mobilization, and the resonance of these spatialized identities is particularly important in resource-extraction peripheries.