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Background and political and diplomatic roles
He was born in La Paz, where he studied law and political science. He later studied sociology in Paris and represented his country at several diplomatic missions in both Europe and America. He was also a deputy and a senator, and for a while served as minister of agriculture.
Arguedas was a keen observer of – and much of his work was inspired by – the indigenous inhabitants of the Andean altiplano, their cultures, and their customs. More controversially, he believed that Bolivia's best hopes lay in a decidedly Western or European orientation, at the expense of majority indigenous culture. Indeed, he tended to see the latter as a handicap impeding Bolivia's progress. His most famous works are Pueblo Enfermo (1910) and Raza de Bronce (1919).