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The Pluri-Extractivist State: Regional Autonomy and the Limits of Indigenous Participation in Gran Chaco Province

Anthias, Penelope (2022) 'The Pluri-Extractivist State: Regional Autonomy and the Limits of Indigenous Participation in Gran Chaco Province.', Journal of Latin American Studies, 54 (1). pp. 125-154.


On 20 November 2016, residents of Gran Chaco Province in south-east Bolivia voted by popular referendum to approve a statute that established Gran Chaco as Bolivia's first autonomous region. This article examines regional autonomy in the Chaco as an example of how identities, territory and political power are being remapped at the intersection of an extractivist development model and competing visions of a plurinational state. I chart how regional autonomy, an elite-led project centred on demands for a fixed share of departmental gas royalties, has been institutionalised under the framework of plurinationalism and used to bolster central state power in this gas-rich region. The article considers the historical evolution of this regionalist project, its intersection with broader processes of state formation under the Movimiento al Socialismo (Movement towards Socialism, MAS) government and its implications for the Chaco's Indigenous peoples, who have achieved significant representation within the regional assembly while seeing their own visions of territorial autonomy sidelined by an extractivist development agenda.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:25 August 2021
Date deposited:04 March 2022
Date of first online publication:17 January 2022
Date first made open access:04 March 2022

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