Accepted paper:

21st century cocialism and Hiwi cociality: intersections and alternatives in Venezuelan democracy


Emma Scott (James Cook University)

Paper short abstract:

21st Century Socialism offers an alternative to liberal democracy drawn from an essentialised image of indigenous political economy. I critically examine this discourse in relation to Hiwi forms of sociality, highlighting inconsistencies in the State’s approach to indigenous rights.

Paper long abstract:

Popular disillusionment with liberal representative institutions gave impetus to the Bolivarian Revolution and its electoral success may be traced to the promise of a more inclusive, participatory, and protagonistic form of political economy, recently branded as 21st Century Socialism. Due to indigenous activism, part of this re-envisioning of citizenship consists of specific collective rights for indigenous peoples to redress historical marginalisation, reflect their particular political imaginaries and ensure self-determination. I examine Hiwi forms of political organisation and social well-being, through the lens of Overing's concept of the 'aesthetics of conviviality:' the everyday production of a sociality through economic activities that balance the key principles of personal autonomy and collectivism. Indigenous sociality offers an enriching alternative to liberalism, which the Bolivarian project draws upon in its symbolic and practical construction of a new distinctly Latin American democracy. However, the State's discourse is often grounded in an essentialised view of indigeneity, which may overlook intergroup diversity and contradict the State's commitment to indigenous self-determination. I explore contemporary Hiwi social ways of being, in light of the national political structures, such as communal councils that offer increased yet standardised democratic participation, and global economic dynamics of the oil industry, which impede the process of territorial demarcation upon which indigenous political autonomy depends.

panel Cit01
The moral economy of citizenship in late liberalism