The Depth of the Bolivian Crisis: Roots, Scope, and Forecast of the Recent Political Crisis (October 20, 2019 - October 18, 2020)


On November 10, 2019, after 14 years of the constitutional government of Movement for Socialism (MAS), Evo Morales—at the suggestion of the military and pressured by widespread social conflict— publicly resigned from Bolivia’s presidency. Given the ensuing power vacuum, the opposition group assumed the interim political leadership of the country through an irregular process of constitutional succession. The latter was justified by the urgent need for a transitional government to pacify the country and restore democracy, an idea often pushed by the country’s right with the aim to reinstall the republican state in detriment to the plurinational state project. Morales’ fall was followed by public burnings of the Wiphala flag, the seizure of power by the right with an oversized Bible in hand, and the military repression resulting in the Senkata and Sacaba massacres. 

The social and political upheaval which engulfed the country between October 20, 2019 and October 18, 2020 is, however, much more complex than a pro-democracy uprising. It brought to light, among other things, the persistence of racism against the indigenous majority of the Bolivian population and therefore, the relevance of the defense of the plurinational state project and the Process of Change for this population (which can be directly linked to the indigenous struggles that preceded the 1952 revolution, and derived decades later in the new Political Constitution of the Plurinational State (2009).) It also made evident the configuration of MAS as the main pillar for the institutionalization of the Process of Change, the exhaustion of the figure of Evo Morales as the sole leader of Bolivian social movements, and the emergence of new leaders around whom the feasibility of communitarian political projects gained force. Furthermore, it made visible the weakening of the traditional left/right binary in the fight for increased participation in projects from where indigenous people were previously excluded by both; and the inability of these groups to respond to the political crisis in ways that address the complexities of Bolivia’s national make up. Lastly, it seems to have cemented the articulation of Bolivia’s ‘other’ national project which on October 18, 2020, against all odds, gave MAS, this time led by Luis Arce and David Choquehuanca, the fourth consecutive victory by an absolute majority in the last constitutional presidential elections. 

With the aim of understanding the complexity of the deep processes that resulted in the last Bolivian crisis and the consequent resumption of the political leadership under MAS, this volume seeks to gather works from different disciplines and perspectives that approach the current situation from perspectives that are not limited to a conjunctural analysis of recent events but, instead, extend to the revision of long-term historical structures (Braudel 1949). The guest editors invite proposals for academic articles that focus on the above from interdisciplinary perspectives that may include, among others, the analysis of: 

  • Historical events or periods that, from a contemporary perspective, can be seen to reveal the roots of the recent conflicts;
  • The crisis or its precedents from cinema studies, literature, visual, fine or performing arts, or cultural production in general;
  • Collective social phenomena (social movements, rebellions, protests, resistance, etc.) relevant to the narratives at play in contemporary Bolivia;
  • The historical-political or socio-cultural process that, with a view to build a plurinational state, abandoned the nation-state as the sole constitutive political framework;
  • The formation of the plurinational state from a legal or political theory perspective, such as constitutional law or the theoretical or historical aspects that are at the basis of the 2009 constitution;
  • Theoretical and philosophical contributions around ideas of collective identities and, in particular, the self-determination of indigenous peoples;
  • The success or failure of the economic models implemented for development of the nation-state (until 2009) and of the plurinational state (since 2009);
  • The relevance of Bolivia and its socio-economic and political antecedents within the global geopolitical context;
  • New challenges for the consolidation of the plurinational state project within the political, economic, and social context derived from the unavoidable consequences of the acute COVID-19 pandemic health crisis (increased unemployment, closing down of companies, institutional crisis, etc.);
  • In general, the study of political, social, cultural, historical, economic or legal factors or events of the past or present that acquire a new hue in light of the recent socio-political crisis; or reveal the roots of the problems we face today.

Submission Information

Accepted proposals will be part of a special edition (number 27) of the Bolivian Studies Journal (, to be published in print and online. Please send your proposal to

The proposal consists of an abstract of no more than 300 words that includes the following: title, brief explanation of the context analyzed and a clear summary of the main points to be discussed in the article. Works in Spanish, English, Portuguese, and native languages of Bolivia are welcome. The author must also submit a short biographical note of no more than 250 words.

The deadline for submitting proposals is May 15, 2021. Letters of invitation to send final papers to the selected proposals will be sent by email on May 31, 2021 (with a submission deadline of November 30, 2021). The acceptance of papers for publication in the journal will be subject to peer review.

Please see further information on submission guidelines in this link: