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Accepted Paper:

'Post-secular socialism'? Religion and identity politics in Hugo Chavez's revolutionary Venezuela  
Lucia Michelutti (University College London)

Paper long abstract:

Using the ethnography of the everyday life of the Bolivarian revolution the paper explores how the idiom of the 'socialism of the XXI century' is reinvented and reinterpreted on the ground. More specifically, it investigates the socio-cultural life of 'Venezuelan socialism' and sheds light on what I call the 'post-secular' character of Chavez's alternative project. The paper assesses the contradictions and tensions born from the encounter between local cosmological and religious worlds on the one hand and the state religious policies and the Afro-Venezuelan movement on the other. By so doing it reflects on the ways new emergent socialist forms of governance are actively couching their 'politics of hope' in the language of religion and cultural politics across Latin America. In this broader comparative scenario, the Venezuelan political ethnography is used to understand how and why post-secular interpretations of 'the political' are increasingly providing spaces for the development of novel languages of political legitimation and transformative political experiments across the globe.

Panel W051
From the mouth of God: 'the political' from a post-secular perspective
  Session 1