Populism, Hegemony, and the Politics of Natural Resource Extraction in Evo Morales's Bolivia

Diego Andreucci

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2017 The Author. Antipode © 2017 Antipode Foundation Ltd. Is populism necessary to the articulation of counter-hegemonic projects, as Laclau has long argued? Or is it, as Žižek maintains, a dangerous strategy, which inevitably degenerates into ideological mystification and reactionary postures? In this paper, I address this question by exploring the politics of discourse in Evo Morales's Bolivia. While, in the years leading to the election of Morales, a populist ideological strategy was key to challenging neoliberal forces, once the hegemony of the new power bloc was stabilised, indigenous demands for emancipatory socio-environmental change began to be perceived as a threat to resource-based accumulation. In this context, the populist signifiers that originated in indigenous-popular struggles were used by the Morales government to legitimise repression of the indigenous movement. I argue, therefore, that ideological degeneration signals a problem not with populism per se, but rather with the class projects and shifting correlations of forces that underpin it in changing conjunctures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)825-845
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


    • Bolivia
    • Ernesto Laclau
    • indigenous movements
    • political ecology
    • populism
    • resource governance


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