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State Theory and Andean Politics

State Theory and Andean Politics: New Approaches to the Study of Rule

Christopher Krupa
David Nugent
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 352
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  • Book Info
    State Theory and Andean Politics
    Book Description:

    In the last few decades, Andean states have seen major restructuring of the organization, leadership, and reach of their governments. With these political tremors come major aftershocks, regarding both definitions and expectations: What is a state? Who or what makes it up, and where does it reside? In what capacity can the state be expected to right wrongs, raise people up, protect them from harm, maintain order, or provide public services? What are its powers and responsibilities?

    State Theory and Andean Politicsattempts to answer these questions and more through an examination of the ongoing process of state creation in Andean nations. Focusing on the everyday, extraofficial, and frequently invisible or partially concealed permutations of rule in the lives of Andean people, the essays explore the material and cultural processes by which states come to appear as real and tangible parts of everyday life. In particular, they focus on the critical role of emotion, imagination, and fantasy in generating belief in the state, among the governed and the governing alike. This approach pushes beyond the limits of the state as conventionally understood to consider how "nonstate" acts of governance intersect with official institutions of government, while never being entirely determined by them or bound to their authorizing agendas.State Theory and Andean Politicsasserts that the state is not simply an institutional-bureaucratic apparatus but one of many forces vying for a claim to legitimate political dominion.

    Featuring an impressive array of Andeanist scholars as well as eminent state theorists Akhil Gupta and Gyanendra Pandey,State Theory and Andean Politicsmakes a bold and novel claim about the nature of states and state-making that deepens understanding not only of the Andes and the Global South but of the world at large.

    Contributors:Kim Clark, Nicole Fabricant, Lesley Gill, Akhil Gupta, Christopher Krupa, David Nugent, Gyanendra Pandey, Mercedes Prieto, Maria Clemencia Ramrez, Irene Silverblatt, Karen Spalding, Winifred Tate.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-9107-0
    Subjects: Anthropology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Chapter 1 Off-Centered States: Rethinking State Theory Through an Andean Lens
    (pp. 1-32)
    Christopher Krupa and David Nugent

    The Andean region has become a site of unprecedented global concern and curiosity in recent years. Governments that represent diverse and often unorthodox followings, and that claim variously to lead or constrain a continent-wide anti-neoliberal vanguard, have made the Andean region a powerful signifier of hope and fear for political observers around the world. Indeed, constituencies located at multiple sites and scales—local, regional, and transnational—have looked to the states of the Andean region to implement deeply held and often conflicting ideas about social justice, economic prosperity, and individual well-being. One need only compare the self-righteous (and exceptionally violent)...


    • Chapter 2 The Idea of the State in Colombia: An Analysis from the Periphery
      (pp. 35-55)
      María Clemencia Ramírez

      This chapter offers a critical phenomenology of the national territorial state in contemporary Colombia. The focus is on the ways in which the construction of a conventional geography of rule based on center-periphery relations helps construct the idea of a neutral and disinterested state (Abrams 1988: 77–79), even as it obscures what are in reality arbitrary and interested projects of rule. The chapter is concerned in particular with the role of frontier regions in the construction of state imaginaries. Focusing on Putumayo, it shows that frontier regions are consistently represented in terms of what they are not. They are...

    • Chapter 3 Respatializing the State from the Margins: Reflections on the Camba Autonomy Movement in Santa Cruz, Bolivia
      (pp. 56-77)
      Nicole Fabricant

      Recent anthropological writing has shown the various ways that neoliberal globalization has undermined states’ claims to centralizing political power in any national-territorial domain. The state’s autonomy appears to be increasingly compromised and its reach diminished as private entities have come to define state-making within a competitive market logic and to promote smaller, more locally oriented, governmental structures. Some anthropologists view this trend as having contributed to the fracturing of the nation-state’s large bureaucratic apparatus and, in turn, its capacity to govern at a distance (Sawyer 2004; Ferguson 2005, 2006; Gupta and Sharma 2006). In this context of the diminished state,...

    • Chapter 4 State Formation and Class Politics in Colombia
      (pp. 78-96)
      Lesley Gill

      After predictions that forecast the demise of states by unfettered globalization, recent studies demonstrate that global pressures are less dismantling states than reconfiguring them (e.g., Brenner 2004; Gupta and Sharma 2006). The painful, sometimes violent, political and economic disruptions of the last three decades have prompted scholars to ask new questions about what the state is, where it is located, and how political life should be organized (Krupa and Nugent, this volume). The capacity of Andean states to claim effective control over a territory in the name of the nation and its citizens is often limited, as the kinds of...


    • Chapter 5 Cadastral Politics: Property Wars and State Realism in Highland Ecuador
      (pp. 99-125)
      Christopher Krupa

      This chapter is concerned with understanding how particular objects and sets of bureaucratic practices are deployed as “outreach devices” for incorporating seemingly recalcitrant regions and populations into the administrative orbit of a state. It proposes a way of thinking about these vanguard technologies of statecraft as central to the pedagogical work of political legitimation—material embodiments of the state’s claim on the right to govern and of the terms by which recognition of this right is to be properly conferred. The political devices of greatest interest here are those explicitly performative technologies of rule that traffic in the mystical genre...

    • Chapter 6 New Arenas of State Action in Highland Ecuador: Public Health and State Formation, c. 1925–1950
      (pp. 126-141)
      A. Kim Clark

      The quarter-century after the 1925 July Revolution (Revolución Juliana) was a key era in the Ecuadorian state’s development of its capacity to administer populations. In this period, the Servicio de Sanidad (Public Health Service) was both constituting itself as a particular kind of state institution and constituting new sites of state intervention such as rural areas, indigenous populations, urban neighborhoods, domestic spaces, and intimate behaviors.

      Two decades ago, Timothy Mitchell challenged scholars to find new ways of conceptualizing and analyzing state effects. He pointed out that many studies assume that the state is an autonomous, unified agent with a specifiable...

    • Chapter 7 The State and Indigenous Women in Ecuador, 1925–975
      (pp. 142-164)
      Mercedes Prieto

      This chapter explores the relationship between the state and the so-called “free indigenous communities” of the Ecuadorian highlands, communities, that is, not formally bound to the hacienda complexes that historically dominated the countryside. My exploration focuses on the family, and within it, on women as important social “barometers” of indigenous-state relations. It is based on documents that discuss the need to subject the indigenous population to the nation-state. Such texts largely draw on and contribute to images of indigenous society constructed by the political, bureaucratic, and intellectual elites. My discussion pays particular attention to the role assigned to Quichua women...


    • Chapter 8 Haunting the Modern Andean State: Colonial Legacies of Race and Civilization
      (pp. 167-185)
      Irene Silverblatt

      Contemporary Andean polities are haunted by colonial legacies. Yet colonial legacies, so critical to the modern Andes, are often disregarded in studies of modern state-making. Incorporating them into our analytical frame helps make sense of the trajectory of horrors and irrationalities—as well as idioms of political legitimacy and justice—that have profoundly marked modern Andean life. European state-making was chained to imperial endeavors and Spanish political ideologies, like those of Spain’s early modern competitors, reflect modernity’s beginnings in this dialectic of state-making and colonialism. My chapter explores how colonial apparatuses of statecraft, washed in the dictates of imperial control,...

    • Chapter 9 Appearances to the Contrary: Fantasy, Fear, and Displacement in Twentieth-Century Peruvian State Formation
      (pp. 186-210)
      David Nugent

      Circa 1950 the military government of Peru, under the leadership of General Manuel Odría, undertook a project of truly massive proportions. Mobilizing the collective resources of the entire state apparatus—material, bureaucratic, and discursive—the regime mounted a campaign of vicious persecution against APRA, a political party regarded as a deeply subversive threat.¹ In the Chachapoyas region of northern Peru the campaign failed, precipitating a (temporary) crisis of rule. Officials came to believe that they were incapable of carrying out even the most basic of government functions, especially those concerning conscription and taxation. Furthermore, officials came to believe that their...


    • Chapter 10 Notes on the Formation of the Andean Colonial State
      (pp. 213-233)
      Karen Spalding

      In 1977, Philip Abrams told the British Sociological Association that the state, the subject of impassioned defenses by politicians claiming that it was in danger of capture or destruction by usually vaguely defined enemies, was a “veil of illusion,” a mask that prevents us from seeing and understanding the political practices that preserve the power of a dominant minority (Abrams 1988). He pointed to the perhaps surprising agreement among analysts of all political persuasions that the state should be understood as a locus of power that somehow stood above and outside of the day-to-day maneuvers of parties and politicians, bureaucracies...

    • Chapter 11 The Aspirational State: State Effects in Putumayo
      (pp. 234-254)
      Winifred Tate

      At the turn of the millennium, conditions in the Putumayo region of Colombia challenged virtually every aspect of the standard narrative of the relations between state, society, territory, citizenship, and rights.¹ The normative ideal of modern state-society relations assumes territorial control via a state apparatus capable of guaranteeing citizens’ rights and the rule of law when threatened by illegal activities, armed actors undermining the state’s monopoly of force, or interference from other nation-states. In Putumayo, however, it was not the national state apparatus that attempted to safeguard the rights of citizens but rather a criminalized population of smallholdingcocaleros(coca...


    • Chapter 12 Off-Centered States: An Appreciation
      (pp. 257-266)
      Gyanendra Pandey

      There isperhapsa new consensus among scholars investigating the concept of the state.

      The state is a secret that appears in at least two guises. The first is as an idea that legitimates political and economic power, masking the advance and intemperate consequences of capitalism (and, one might add, what was called “socialism”) under the rubric of the interests of the people. It serves this particular function well since “democracy,” the obvious alternative conception, is too open, too obviously imperfect, and too continuously negotiated, to allow similar cover. It appears second—as the reference to “the people” in the preceding...

    • Chapter 13 Viewing States from the Global South
      (pp. 267-278)
      Akhil Gupta

      This fascinating and complex collection sets out to offer an “off-centered” view of the state. As seen from Latin America, the state—the bureaucratic nation-state idealized and normalized in the self-representations of European theorists and leaders—appears as a strange object. Seen from somewhere else, the normative model of the state appears off-kilter, its seams showing, its unnatural nature evident. Provincializing Europe is not just about deconstructing European self-representations from within, but also seeing the normative model of the state from elsewhere, from somewhere where it appears off-center.

      My task in the midst of these brilliant reappraisals of the state...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 279-292)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 293-314)
  11. List of Contributors
    (pp. 315-318)
  12. Index
    (pp. 319-326)
  13. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 327-330)