This panel explores 'the radical' in contemporary Latin America; a relational term that may implicate a return to roots and origins, and/or a futuristic imposition of a new reality or transformation. We invite papers that engage in ethnographic description of what the radical might be.
This panel explores the legacy of 'the radical' in contemporary Latin America. Within the last decade the region has been characterized by profound transformations that have allowed for the emergence of new political categories and social groups. In this light, Latin America lending itself as an ethnographic laboratory for the study of intersectional sites and practices of social transformation that involve the production of radical alterity and radical subjectivities. Rather than thinking of an a priori definition of the radical, we consider it as a starting point of enquiry. We understand the radical as a relational term immanent to spatial and temporal social arrangements and realities, that may implicate both a return to roots and origins, evoking some kind of lost "tradition", and a futuristic imposition of a new reality or transformation (for example through revolution). In either case, the present is eclipsed and fade out of view or its relevance becomes magnified by enfolding the future into the present. While life is lived in present tense, it can be experienced as being "out of sync" with its time, either because forms of life appear as belonging to the past (i.e. indigenous life-forms within a modernist framework of the nation-state) or as being ahead of their time. We invite papers that engage in ethnographic description and analysis of the production of radical alterity in Latin America, and particularly of the intersectional sites and forms of collaboration that enable its emergence.