Accepted Paper:

Political Spectacle and Stagings of Indigeneity in Bolivia  
Martyn Wemyss (Goldsmiths)

Paper short abstract:

This paper describes two 'stagings' of indigeneity in Bolivia through a consideration of their aesthetic and symbolic affects and effervescences, before locating them within a larger framework of the refashioning and subversion of cosmopolitan forms to tell new histories from below.

Paper long abstract:

This paper focuses on the production of political indigeneity through spectacle, and the crafting of indigenous political subjects through various 'stagings' which address, envision and encompass different publics through different aesthetics of performance. The paper addresses two distinct 'stagings': The first is the celebration which took place in La Paz's Plaza Murillo after the Constitution of 2009 was passed by plebiscite. I read this event against popular aesthetic representations of Evo Morales through cartoons. The second staging is that of a wrestling bout in El Alto, in which a transnational form of entertainment becomes an arena in which history is creatively (re)presented and a (female) gendered indigenous political subject emerges triumphant, inverting the hegemonic masculine image which is intrinsic to the form. The paper explores how (trans)national cultural forms provide arenas in which different registers of truth-making can be used to address and fabricate indigenous political subjects through aestheticized performance, and how such performances form a locus for the practice of indigenous governmentality in Bolivia.

Panel P084
Aesthetics and Performativity: Form and substance in cultural politics