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(Re)negotiating meaning, dismantling patriarchy: the politics of translation in a Bolivian, feminist NGO

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
Between 2003 and 2017, Bolivia elected its first indigenous president, redrafted its constitution, “re-founded” the Plurinational State to reflect its indigenous majority, and engaged in a multi-faceted decolonization project. Amidst these transitions, a parallel despatriarcalización project – in short, the dismantling of patriarchy - emerged out of Bolivian, feminist social movements. I employ feminist analyses of NGOs in combination with ethnographic research to examine how State-making projects like decolonization and despatriarcalización are “lived” by employees of a foreign-funded, feminist NGO in El Alto, Bolivia. Feminist NGOs face critique from the Bolivian State and feminist social movements for being colonial, patriarchal institutions. I argue that NGO employees carve out their role in Bolivian State-making through enacting a politics of translation. NGO employees act as translators as they renegotiate the meanings of key terms, such as patriarchy, gender, feminism, and women’s rights, within the Bolivian women’s movement and re-signify despatriarcalización in their daily work.
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Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Millar, Kathleen
Thesis advisor: Otero, Gerardo
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