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Indigenous Peoples, Civil Society, and the Neo-liberal State in Latin America

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Indigenous Peoples, Civil Society, and the Neo-liberal State in Latin America

Edited by Edward F. Fischer

224 pages, 11 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-597-2 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (October 2008)

eISBN 978-0-85745-547-5 eBook

Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


The Fischer collection offers a useful assessment of the effects and limits of neoliberal governmentality projects, focused on critical discussion of the concept of ‘civil society’…also provides some useful reflections on translocal and transnational relations and processes.  ·  JRAI


In recent years the concept and study of “civil society” has received a lot of attention from political scientists, economists, and sociologists, but less so from anthropologists. A ground-breaking ethnographic approach to civil society as it is formed in indigenous communities in Latin America, this volume explores the multiple potentialities of civil society’s growth and critically assesses the potential for sustained change. Much recent literature has focused on the remarkable gains made by civil society and the chapters in this volume reinforce this trend while also showing the complexity of civil society - that civil society can itself sometimes be uncivil. In doing so, these insightful contributions speak not only to Latin American area studies but also to the changing shape of global systems of political economy in general.

Edward F. Fischer is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University. His work focuses on issues of political economy, identity politics, and globalization; he has conducted long-term fieldwork with the Maya of Guatemala and in Germany. His publications include Maya Cultural Activism in Guatemala (1996), Cultural Logics and Global Economies: Maya Identity in Thought and Practice (2001), Tecpán Guatemala: A Modern Maya Town in Local and Global Context (2002, with Carol Hendrickson), and Broccoli and Desire: Global Connections and Maya Struggles in Postwar Guatemala (2006, with Peter Benson). His current research focuses on the interplay of moral values and economic rationalities.

Subject: General Anthropology
Area: Latin America


Chapter 1. Introduction: Indigenous Peoples, Neo-liberal Regimes, and Varieties of Civil Society in Latin America
Edward F. Fischer

Chapter 2. Indigenous Politics and the State: The Andean Highlands in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Michiel Baud

Chapter 3. La Mano Dura and the Violence of Civil Society in Bolivia
Daniel M. Goldsteinwith Gloria Achá, Eric Hinojosa, and Theo Roncken

Chapter 4. Empire/Multitude—State/Civil Society: Rethinking Topographies of Power through Transnational Connectivity in Ecuador and Beyond
Suzana Sawyer

Chapter 5. The Power of Ecuador’s Indigenous Communities in an Era of Cultural Pluralism
Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld

Chapter 6. Civil Society and the Indigenous Movement in Colombia: The Consejo Regional Indígena del Cauca
Joanne Rappaport

Chapter 7. Indigenous Nations in Guatemalan Democracy and the State: A Tentative Assessment
Demetrio Cojtí Cuxil

Chapter 8. Reformulating the Guatemalan State: The Role of Maya Intellectuals and Civil Society Discourse
Marta Elena Casaús Arzú

Chapter 9. El otro lado: Local Ends and Development in a Q’eqchi’ Maya Community
Avery Dickins

Chapter 10. The Political Uses of Maya Medicine: Civil Organizations in Chiapas and the Ventriloquism Effect
Pedro Pitarch


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