Interpreting Modernity: Exploring El Alto, Bolivia’s Perspective

By Guido Alejo, translated from Spanish by Maria Fernanda Córdova Suxo

Within Bolivia, a country marked by high levels of economic informality – nearly 90% of its active workforce, according to the Centro Boliviano de Economía (CEBEC) – El Alto stands out. Perched at an elevation of 4,000 meters on the Altiplano plateau, this city embodies informality not only in its economy but also in its very inception, formed outside the realms of state planning. Being just 38 years old, El Alto is witnessing a profound evolution in its concept of modernity. Here, a dynamic interplay between economic advancement, social mobility, and the redefinition of urban identity is underway.

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Embrace or Reject? Decoding Indigenous Perspectives on Development Programmes

By Léna ProuchetNew Rhythms of Development blog series

Entrepreneurship has become one of the main strategies used by international organisations and NGOs to promote sustainable development in the Global South. This approach has been highly criticised and deemed unfit to address structural issues underlying poverty. Such criticism has also been rooted in case studies of indigenous and local communities rejecting “development” initiatives. This blog post, based on field work in the Peruvian Amazon, reveals a nuanced perspective on the relationship between local communities and “entrepreneurship for development” projects. It shows how locals leverage projects to access new resources that fulfil basic needs and achieve aspirations for a better lifestyle, while still giving importance to some aspects of their traditional lifestyle.

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