The political process of Buen Vivir : contentious politics in contemporary Ecuador

  • Daniela Bressa Florentin

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This thesis focuses on social transformation involving active tensions between political structure (State) and insubordination (social movements). It does so in the context of the rise of Buen Vivir in institutional politics in contemporary Ecuador. It offers a detailed sociological analysis of the agents involved in the political process, providing a comprehensive account of their historical background, goals, frame definitions, and strategic actions. In doing so, the thesis argues that the political process of Buen Vivir in Ecuador entails the complex-multifaceted dispute over the leadership of actions of change that redefine political settlements and move the country away from the neoliberal course. Away from essentialist and static interpretations on the matter, this thesis argues that the political process in contemporary Ecuador moves through complex dynamics, involving moments of articulation and fragmentation in which agents and events move closer to or away from what is identified as two political projects: the first one follows a top-down, State-centred strategic logic of social democracy, which I propose to call State of Buen Vivir. The second project follows a bottom-up, society-centred vision of insubordination which I propose to call the Social Movement of Buen Vivir. Theoretically, the thesis develops a productive relationship between Latin American Marxist theory of the State and a Weberian version of the construction of rebellious solidarities pursuing a historical and sociological analysis to understand the dilemmas of a necessary relationship between the State and social movements. Methodologically, it follows a qualitative research design and draws mainly on case study analysis (the CONAIE and the government of Rafael Correa). The research design uses in depth interviewing with the elites within each sector, document analysis and mass media analysis.
Date of Award26 Apr 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJoe Devine (Supervisor) & Peter Lambert (Supervisor)

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