Amaru Villanueva is coordinator of projects at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation (FES). He holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and an MA in Internet Social Sciences, both from Oxford University. Previously, he worked in the areas of innovation and strategy in telecommunications, and in 2010 he founded the magazine Bolivian Express. He was director of the Center for Social Research (CIS) and the Bolivian Bicentennial Library (BBB) until 2017. He is currently studying a Doctorate in Sociology at the University of Essex about discourses and practices around the middle classes in Bolivia.
2018. Encuesta Mundial de Valores en Bolivia 2017 (co-investigador). La Paz: CIS.
2016. (coordinador y co-autor) Bolivia Out of Sight: Postcards from the Unreported. La Paz: Plural.
Articles / Chapters (selection)
2019. "La clase media imaginada". En: Bitácora Intercultural 1 (1). 69-84.
2019. (en edición). "Clases a medias’ - the Changing Contours of Bolivian Middle Classes". En: Revolutions in Bolivia.
2018. "La Biblioteca del Bicentenario de Bolivia: entre el rescate y la creación". En: Martín Zelaya (coord.) Síntoma de época. La Paz: Editorial 3600.
2018. "Las clases medias y la democracia: cuatro aproximaciones (y media) a la relación entre clase social y preferencia política en Bolivia". En: Andamios 7 (3). 107-120.
Project as a CALAS Fellow
Between 2003 and 2018, both Bolivia and Argentina have been the scenes of intense political and intellectual debates about their so-called middle classes, offering fertile ground for a comparative study. In the Bolivian case, the MAS government faces a political crisis in the face of the 2019 elections, which casts doubt on its continuity after 14 years in power. President Evo Morales took a surprising discursive turn in 2018, affirming his need to "listen" and "charm again" the middle class, marking a break with his traditional stance of antagonizing it, and leaving his recurring references to it in the past as a “middle class” (Villanueva 2018). In the Argentine case, the analysis of social stratification and consumption levels account for similar processes. This research project aims to understand the motives and strategies used by the elites (governmental and institutional) in Argentina and Bolivia, to define, subdivide, co-opt, and even antagonize the middle class. It will be of particular interest to understand the interplay between these diverse representations and the subjective identities onto which they are projected. The critical approach also seeks to investigate the extent to which discursive strategies make other inequalities invisible outside of this expansive category, diverting attention from subordinate and dominant subjects, through narratives that are rarely sensitive to other identity intersections.