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Scarborough, Isabel M.

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Illinois, Urbana, U. of
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
October 30, 2007
Project Title: 
Scarborough, Isabel M., U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'Market Women Mothers and Daughters: Politics and Mobility in the New Bolivia,' supervised by Dr. Andrew Orta

ISABEL M. SCARBOROUGH, then a student at University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, received a grant in October 2007 to aid research on 'Market Women Mothers and Daughters: Politics and Mobility in the New Bolivia,' supervised by Dr. Andrew Orta. Market women in Bolivia have a long history of political participation and as brokers of ethnic concerns with broader populist social movements. This research sought to explain how recent processes of social and ethnic mobility across two generations affected identity negotiations and constructions for these women. The study is framed within the context of Bolivia's ongoing transformations where current state policies and ideology are based on a reversal of former neoliberal values and the importance of ethnicity and indigenousness in national belonging. Ethnographic fieldwork was carried out with two generations of market women using in-depth interviews and participant-observation methods. Research results confirmed the extent of this upward mobility through education, and how this journey affects broader economic practices, including how these women imagine, embody, and practice both the formal and informal markets, challenging this dichotomy. Additionally, queries on the current political participation of both market women and their university-graduate daughters show both groups fractured along rapidly escalating hostilities between the opposition and the government, which in turn reflect the conflict raging between the highland regions that support the state's indigenous-based politics and the lowland regions where the opposition decries the government's anti-capitalist stance.