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The University of Southampton
Sociology, Social Policy and CriminologyPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

Dr Matthew Doyle 

Academic Tutor in Sociology and Anthropology, Research Associate, Centre for Political Ethnography

Dr Matthew Doyle's photo

Matthew Doyle is an Anthropologist focused on the study of politics and morality with area specialism in Latin America and Bolivia.

Between 2014 and 2016 I carried out long-term ethnographic fieldwork in the Bolivian highlands with funding from the ESRC. My research examined a local political conflict in the highland indigenous community of Bolivar province in the Cochabamba department of Bolivia. Here there exist multiple overlapping forms of local political authority, including the municipal government, peasant union and the traditional authorities who claim to pre-date the Spanish conquest. Ironically, the national project of the governing ‘Movement Towards Socialism’ (MAS) party to re-found the Bolivian state so as to include the country’s ‘indigenous majority’ has coincided with an intensification of conflict between them. 

This research, presented in my (2018) PhD Thesis: ‘We are all originarios’: Political conflict and identity in contemporary Bolivia, examines how legal and institutional changes that purport to further the decolonisation of Bolivian society have served to further intra-community conflict among the inhabitants of this particular indigenous community. In this way it makes a contribution to understanding the contradictions of the MAS project of reform and the wider trend of ‘post-neoliberal’ governments in the region. 

I am currently interested in developing new theoretical and methodological resources for the ethnographic analysis of political conflict and how political discourse can be understood in terms of the attempt by groups and social actors to contest elements of their shared social morality. This seeks to engage with a growing body of work in the cognitive sciences which analyses political conflict as fundamentally concerned with distinct moral understandings.


Dr Matthew Doyle
Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

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