Campaigning for coca: From collective action in the village to mobilization in support of the MAS

Special report. Partisan discretion
By Romain Busnel

Starting from the ethnographic follow-up of a peasant mobilization in the Tropic of Cochabamba (Bolivia), the article questions the forms of attachment of the coca growers to the Movement towards Socialism (MAS). By placing the discretion of the arrangements around this controversial crop at the heart of the relations between the party, its union branch and the peasant populations of the region, it shows the existing continuities between “collective action in the village” and the more exceptional forms of mobilization “in the street”. Drawing on the work of Thomas Clay Arnold, the article proposes to conceptualize this continuum and the partisan attachment that follows in terms of a moral economy. The latter focuses on the “social good” of coca, which federates village communities as much as it disturbs their relationship to politics and legality.

  • political party
  • trade unionism
  • movement for socialism
  • moral economy
  • Bolivia
  • social good
  • coca
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