Urban change and the Aymara Bourgeoisie in La Paz, Bolivia

Venue: Birkbeck 43 Gordon Square, Cinema
Booking details: Free entry; booking recommended

This event is part of a new series of screenings and conversations exploring the theme of URBAN CHANGE, bringing together filmmakers, researchers and activists with a common interest in changing cityscapes from around the world.

For this Urban Change session we present a recent film project by Dr. Kate Maclean on La Paz.


In the last ten years, La Paz has transformed. Incredible economic growth and a government keen to overturn centuries of colonialism, inequality and exclusion, have led to the accumulation of wealth in informal, predominantly indigenous areas of the city, and the emergence of an 'Aymara Bourgeoisie.' Their new found riches and confidence have led to the creation of unique styles of architecture and fashion, as well as patterns of mobility that challenge not only the status quo in the city, but some of the central tenets of critical urban theory. In an incredible reversal, people of indigenous and rural descent who have made their fortunes in the excluded 'shanty towns' of La Paz, now have the wealth to buy up luxury properties in the salubrious, and predominantly white, Zona Sur [Southern Zone].

This short film explores how the wealth of the Aymaran bourgeoisie have changed culture, belonging and the built environment in the city by comparing two neighbourhoods one in the Zona Sur, home of the traditional elites, and one in Kollasuyo, a former informal settlement to the North of the city where property values are now comparable to those in the developed world. By exploring this phenomenon visually, it is hoped that the complexity of this transformation, and what it means for understandings of wealth, belonging, identity and mobility, is brought to the fore.

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Contact phone: 020 7631 6115

Further details: More information about this event …