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Embodied Protests

Embodied Protests: Emotions and Women's Health in Bolivia

Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    Embodied Protests
    Book Description:

    Embodied Protests examines how Bolivia's hesitant courtship with globalization manifested in the visceral and emotional diseases that afflicted many Bolivian women. Drawing on case studies conducted among market- and working-class women in the provincial town of Punata, Maria Tapias examines how headaches and debilidad , so-called normal bouts of infant diarrhea, and the malaise oppressing whole communities were symptomatic of profound social suffering. She approaches the narratives of distress caused by poverty, domestic violence, and the failure of social networks as constituting the knowledge that shaped their understandings of well-being. At the crux of Tapias's definitive analysis is the idea that individual health perceptions, actions, and practices cannot be separated from local cultural narratives or from global and economic forces. Evocative and compassionate, Embodied Protests gives voice to the human costs of the ongoing neoliberal experiment.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09715-7
    Subjects: History, Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction: Embodied Protests, Emotions, and Failing Socialities
    (pp. 1-24)

    On a winter morning in 1998, before the first rays of the bright Andean sun were able to catch Teresa in bed, she carefully bundled her weakened granddaughter Carmen in several warm layers, nestling her between the folds of anawayo, a colorful carrying cloth. Teresa, a fifty-four-year-old Quechua grandmother, gathered the opposite corners of the awayo and in one fell swoop, with the expertise and confidence of someone who had carried many an infant this way, gently swung the child onto her back, securing the cloth’s corners into a firm double knot across her chest. At the request of...

  5. 1 Neoliberalism on the Ground: Political, Economic, and Social Landscapes
    (pp. 25-42)

    Most mornings, it was not the strong Valle Alto sun streaming through my window that woke me. It was not the cacophonous chorus of neighborhood roosters, nor the gleeful chatter of children running off to school. It was not the squeaky wheels of carts hauling produce to the market three blocks from my house, the church bells calling the faithful to Mass at 7:00 A.M., or the incessant buzzing of my Casio alarm clock. What drew me out of sleep at dawn was the slow and rhythmicswish-swish-swishof Doña Soledad’s broom sweeping the sidewalk right below my bedroom window....

  6. 2 Physicality’s Sociality and Sociality’s Physicality: Fluid Boundaries of the Body
    (pp. 43-55)

    Father Cresencio was known in the community as a rather stern, middle-aged priest who seldom missed an opportunity to tell his parishioners they could do better: they could collaborate more with one another, they could spend less money on sponsoring fiestas, they could come to church more often, and they could be mindful of the suffering of others. “¡Nos riñe siempre!” laughed several women from the market: “He scolds us all the time!” In spite of this, people often found solace in talking with him; as such, my conversations with him sought to explore what role he played in helping...

  7. 3 The Intergenerational Embodiment of Social Suffering
    (pp. 56-75)

    On a brisk Tuesday afternoon in June 2003 I headed over to Sabrina’s house, which was located two blocks from Punata’s main plaza. I had met her through my field assistant a week earlier, and she had invited me to visit her at home so we could chatmás tranquilas, in a more relaxed way and without interruptions. I had passed her house many times on my way home from the market but didn’t know she lived there. The paint on the mustard-yellow adobe house was chipping off, and the heavy wooden front door was left ajar, as was common...

  8. 4 Anxious Ambitions and the Financing of Tranquility
    (pp. 76-104)

    In conditions of economic hardship and recession, it is sometimes easy to overlook the fact that some people still manage to fare well. The terrain for economic success in Punata, however, was decidedly uneven, and for those who did experience relative prosperity, their success came at significant social costs. While medical anthropologists have examined the negative health effects neoliberal reforms have had on the poor through a focus on structural violence, they have paid less attention to the other violences people may experience, even if those individuals do not find themselves living under the same economic adversity as truly destitute...

  9. 5 Moving Sentiments: Emotions and Migration
    (pp. 105-126)

    Cochabambinos often joke that you can find one of theirllaqtamasis(fellow Cochabambinos) just about anywhere in the world, and that when travel to the moon becomes more accessible, you will probably find them well adjusted there as well. There is a long history of emigration originating from the region of Cochabamba to other areas of the country as well as abroad (de la Torre 2006; Roman Arnez 2009). Indeed, one strategy families in Punata deployed to make ends meet during the economic uncertainty that characterized the late 1990s was migration. Throughout the 1990s the two key destinations for Punateños...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 127-132)

    On May 27, 1998, a few months prior to concluding my extended fieldwork and the day Bolivians observe Mother’s Day, Flora, Mariana, Marta, Vera, and I were out celebrating at a local bar/restaurant. The large locale with a concrete dance floor regularly hosted celebrations such as these, as well as weddings, baptisms, and other festivities. As the party began, the celebration was attended overwhelmingly by women, mothers, daughters, sisters, daughters-in-law, and small children. The women were joking, happy and in a festive mood. They told stories, took turns dancingcuecaswith one another, and shared chicha from large, colorful, plastic...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 133-136)
  12. Glossary
    (pp. 137-140)
  13. References
    (pp. 141-154)
  14. Index
    (pp. 155-160)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 161-164)