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Informal institutions and party organization: a case study of the MAS-IPSP in urban areas of La Paz and El Alto

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
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The Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) emerged in Bolivia’s rural areas in the 1990s. Born of peasant social movements, it has spread to the cities and become the country’s dominant political force, as its leader, Evo Morales, was elected to the Presidency in 2005. Drawing on primary data collected through fieldwork in the cities of La Paz and El Alto, this thesis focuses on two aspects of the MAS. Firstly, it studies how the MAS is organized internally, and argues that its rural origins have indelibly shaped its contemporary structure. The MAS is currently at a movement stage and is building a base-level infrastructure, which is informal and barely institutionalized. Secondly, this thesis examines how the MAS operates in La Paz and El Alto. It reveals that while the MAS is an innovative representational institution, it has not innovated much in terms of political practices and organization in these two cities.
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