Guerra del Gas: resistance, subaltern counterpublics, and indigenous rhetoric in Bolivia
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This thesis presents a rhetorical analysis of the Guerra del Gas movement in Bolivia from 2003 to 2005. It views the social movement and its major uprisings as emerging from a subaltern counterpublic that grounded its resistance in uniquely indigenous rhetoric. Chapter one provides a theoretical framework for understanding indigenous rhetoric as embodying a discourse of subaltern sensibilities and situating subaltern counterpublic theory within the historic-cultural situation of Bolivia to understand contemporary struggles over natural resources and against neoliberal politics within the country. The indigenous rhetoric of the Guerra del Gas movement provided a direct refutation of natural gas privatization and neoliberal hegemony. The second chapter is a case study that explores the indigenous rhetoric of the October 2003 and May-June 2005 uprisings that characterized the subaltern counterpublic sphere of the Guerra del Gas movement. In chapter three the theoretical frame of subaltern rhetoric is established to analyze Evo Morales’ inaugural address as an embodiment of a discourse of subaltern sensibilities. The conclusion chapter offers some directions for further research and considers how understanding indigenous rhetoric has implications for social struggle and organized resistance in a world of increasing globalization and neoliberal hegemonic policymaking.