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BOOK REVIEWS / BOOK REVIEWS Almut Schilling-Vacaflor Law as contested terrain. The new constitution and indigenous peoples in Bolivia. Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden, 2010, 290 pages, 49 euros, ISBN 978-8329-5982-1. The author mainly deals with the implementation of the Bolivian constitutional amendment process (2007 to 2009) and the associated recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples. It shows how legal, political and sociological approaches are connected in order to show a complete picture of the design of a pluralistic state model in Bolivia. The foundation and positioning of the indigenous movement since the 1990s and the relationship between indigenous and trade union organizations are in the foreground in this work. After the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the discussion about their right to self-determination has developed further. One speaks not only of participation or consultation rights, but also of a requirement for approval for measures that may affect the rights of indigenous peoples. In this context, the contribution by Schilling-Vacaflor is particularly significant. The work shows us what social, political and economic consequences the recognition of these rights can have in a highly polarized society like the Bolivian one. After an introduction, in which the author presents her research question and the methods used in her study, there are four chapters and at the end a summary with an outlook on future developments. The author tries to look at the legal system from the perspective of society and its actors. The question arises to what extent the previous constitution of Bolivia reflected the heterogeneity of Bolivian society and what social and economic effects the new pluralistic constitution can produce. In the first chapter the tension between the state and indigenous peoples is presented, whereby the situation of discrimination against the indigenous population (which in the case of Bolivia represents the majority) by the dominant or “non-indigenous” society is particularly emphasized. The chapter begins with a detailed presentation of the existing international legal instruments for the protection of indigenous peoples and a summarizing analysis of the right of minorities and indigenous groups to self-determination. The author then addresses various topics, namely the strengthening of indigenous organizations, constitutional reforms in Latin America, the importance of indigenous cultural identity and the relationship between different state models and ethnic discrimination. Even if these topics are closely related in terms of content and describe the context of the investigation, a more systematic arrangement would have been desirable. For example, the section on “State models and ethnic discrimination”, in which the author shows the difference between monocultural and pluralistic state models, could have been treated in a separate chapter. In the second chapter, three important areas in particular are addressed: the role of indigenous organizations in Bolivia, the demand for political and legal self-government and the nationalization processes under the Morales government. First, the author mentions what, in her opinion, are three most important indigenous organizational groups, whose goals and interests appear to be different or even opposing: The rural unions, which strongly supported Evo Morales' accession to government; the Ayllus organizations, which are organized through traditional indigenous forms of association - unlike the union structures - and the indigenous lowland organizations, which represent the minority in their regions and have now distanced themselves from the Evo Morales government. It is particularly positive to emphasize how thoroughly the author deals with the dichotomy between indigenous and western political systems. Then the author deals with the demands of indigenous peoples for political and legal self-government as well as for the change of state powers in order to achieve the creation of a plurinational state in Bolivia. This chapter enables the reader to better understand the conflicts and antagonism within the indigenous sector during the preparation of the new constitution as described by the author. Finally, the part about the nationalization process in the natural gas sector is also worth reading. One finds an overview of the Bolivian natural gas policy since the 1950s and a critical analysis of the negotiations between the Evo Morales government and transnational corporations. However, it is not clear why the author deals with this topic in this chapter, since the nationalization was primarily a consequence of the social crisis at the time. The exciting question of what role indigenous groups or the rights of indigenous peoples played in these nationalization processes, on the other hand, is hardly examined. The focus of empirical social research - and at the same time the most innovative part of this work - lies in the following third chapter. This contains a great description of the constituent assembly internal and external scenarios. The polarization between opposition groups and the supporters of the ruling party MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo) is presented in such detail in this part that one feels as if one is present at the General Assembly. The interviews conducted by the author show the social tensions during this period very well and therefore provide a better understanding of the subsequent, sometimes violent, confrontations. In the last chapter the author describes and analyzes the new constitution of Bolivia. She emphasizes the anchoring of the rights of indigenous peoples to preserve their own cultural identity and traditional institutions, which have been placed on the same level as general book reviews 103 state structures. In addition, the author summarizes other important innovations of the constitution of 2009, for example with regard to international relations, the separation of powers and the new economic model, and uses this constitution to briefly explain the concept of the “New Constitutionalism of Latin America”. The central question of the book is to what extent the earlier constitution of Bolivia reflected the heterogeneity of Bolivian society and what social and economic effects the new pluralistic constitution can produce. To evaluate the collected data, Schilling-Vacaflor applies the “Grounded Theory” 1 approach in her work in order to develop her hypotheses and theories from the analysis of these data and the current social circumstances. In the course of her work, one notices the results of a thorough fieldwork that includes interviews with indigenous representatives, academics, members of the Constituent Assembly and other political figures. The use of the “critical discourse analysis” approach developed by Michel Foucault is also very interesting .2 In the end, the author takes a final approach, namely the analysis of the communication relationships between different sectors of Bolivian society based on Pierre's habitus theory Bourdieu.3 Schilling-Vacaflor asks himself the following three research questions: ● What demands do the indigenous and trade union organizations make with regard to the new constitution and in what context do they stand? ● What are the key factors in accepting / rejecting the demands of indigenous and trade union organizations? ● What are the characteristics of the new Bolivian constitution compared to the previous one? With regard to the first question, the author first deals with a number of organizations that explicitly describe themselves as "indigenous". This must be done in the context of 1 The author speaks of “Grounded Theory”, among other things, as the possibility “to approach the research field relatively openly and to adapt specific research questions, hypotheses and theories to the respective context and state of research, instead of using a rigid research design Approaching practice and “pressing” the found reality into the theory. See page 24. 2 The author explains this method as questioning discourses by trying to find out ideologies, values, images of oneself and others, political and economic orientation. See page 25. 3 For a better understanding of what is meant by habitus theory, I quote the explanation drawn up by the author: “According to Pierre Bordereau, communication relationships are also relationships of symbolic power. In this context, the linguistic habitus and linguistic capital play a central role. The linguistic habitus is socially constructed, differs according to class, gender and ethnic affiliation and describes the tendency to certain communication skills (e.g. the grammatically correct language). Linguistic capital describes the attribution of value for certain forms of speaking, which context and situation-specific can be different ”. (See pages 150, 151). 104 Constitution and Law in Overseas VRÜ 46 (2013), a criticism put forward in particular by the opposition sector, which speaks of a “lack of purity” of indigenous peoples who have now adopted a predominantly Western lifestyle. In this context, the author is of the opinion that “indigenousness” does not necessarily require a traditional way of life, but rather refers to a sector of the population whose system is dynamic and, in the author's opinion, “over the past 500 years, particularly through relationships with the dominant society coined “4 is. Against this background, the author presents the various political orientations and world views of indigenous or trade union organizations without classifying them as “more” or “less” indigenous. In this context, she states that the demands of indigenous peoples are different depending on the region - highlands or lowlands - and explains this differentiation precisely and vividly. In order to answer the second question, the author deals with the difficulties encountered during the implementation process of the new constitution. Issues such as the creation of indigenous autonomies, the redistribution of land ownership and the ownership of non-renewable resources sought by the indigenous communities are identified in the work as the most conflicting aspects. She explains that after Evo Morales came to power, the trade union organizations wanted to retain power in the area of ​​central government rather than support the efforts of other indigenous sectors. The pressure exerted by the opposition in lowland regions and the violent events in Sucre and Pando described in the book count as reasons for the restriction of radical indigenous claims. The author answers the third question with a detailed analysis of the new constitution against the background of “neo-constitutionalism” in Latin America. The author faces the challenge that interdisciplinary research always has to cope with, namely to find an appropriate way of dealing with the other discipline. Her description and assessment of constitutional law in a predominantly empirical-sociological study succeeds with minor restrictions. Sometimes, however, the impression arises that she speaks lightly of the “recognition of indigenous rights in international human rights” 5 and, for example, without evidence or further justification, describes the right of indigenous peoples to access land as VAC law.6 The result is the author believes that the new Bolivian constitution is a positive example of the establishment of a new pluralistic state model that well reflects the interests of the Bolivian indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. This thesis is well founded by an interesting look at the political history of Bolivia from the middle of the 20th century and by the results of empirical research. Noteworthy is the argument developed by the author about the wrong understanding of the 4 p. 179. 5 p. 247. 6 p. 31. Book Reviews 105 Rights of indigenous peoples as “special rights”, because in her opinion it is more “about the implementation of equal rights, but in a culture-specific way ”.7 The criticism that, as a reader who is not familiar with Bolivian history in detail, one is a justification or explanation for why a party8 or a politician9 goes in a similar direction called "fascist" would have wished. The portrayal of indigenous peoples as “political actors” as well as the examination of indigenous concepts of power and politics is very successful. The subject of collective rights of indigenous peoples runs through the entire book. At the same time, the need for further research is becoming apparent, especially with regard to the social consequences and potential conflicts of the implementation of individual disputed collective rights, such as land rights or the right to consult indigenous peoples. Despite the weaknesses identified, the work appears to be a methodologically and theoretically well-founded and innovative investigation. Another positive aspect is that the author clearly expresses her evaluations as such and does not try to hide them behind an apparently objective analysis. In some places, however, it would be desirable if the author had dealt more seriously with counter-arguments. The book has a well-sorted bibliography, including Latin American authors. The mastery of the Spanish language in the preparation of interviews and data is evident. In summary, it can be stated that the monograph offers an interesting perspective of the current consolidation of pluralistic state models in Latin America using the example of Bolivia. At least from the point of view of the interdisciplinary interested legal scholar who deals with Latin America, the book “Law as contested Terrain” is exciting to read and overall highly recommended. Maria Victoria Cabrera, Göttingen 7 p. 177. 8 p. 194. 9 This is how the author expressed herself in relation to the leader of the “Union Juvenil Crucenista”: “The largest and oldest of these groups was the Union Juvenil Crucenista (UJC) from Santa Cruz, which was founded in 1957 by a well-known fascist from Santa Cruz: Carlos Valverde Barbery. ”See page 194. 106 Constitution and law overseas VRÜ 46 (2013)