Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

Major Professor

Jana Morgan

Committee Members

Ian Down, Yang Zhong, Jon Shefner


In Bolivia, indigenous women have contributed to President Morales’ and MAS (Movement Toward Socialism) electoral victories and are exercising an emerging influence on the government’s decisions on policy. This contrasts with their experiences with failed policy efforts prior to the early 2000s, which presents an interesting puzzle for social movement theories. These theories argue that the language of repertoires and framing processes, resources of social movements, along with structural opportunities are important causes of social movement success. Research on social movement outcomes is needed to understand indigenous women’s changing relationship with society and the government. As indigenous women’s influence on policy has scarcely been studied, and only in relation to a few policy areas, this study broadens our understanding of the range of social movements’ influence.

I conduct qualitative historical analysis of primary, secondary, and field research data to test hypotheses about indigenous women’s social movements in Bolivia between 1994-2012. The empirical chapters investigate the impact of organizational, state, and international variables on education reform, land reform, coca protests, domestic violence, the Gas War, gas and food subsidies, and the territorial conflict in the TIPNIS region. The major finding of this dissertation is that indigenous women need to confront very open political opportunities with very high amounts of human capital resources–especially women in leadership roles and strong networks—in order to have a significant impact on policy outcomes.

Table 12a.pdf (45 kB)
Table 12 Summary of Independent and Dependent Variable Scores

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