"A heroic, successful, and grounded assault on the apparent empirical reality of the state and its 'state effects.' These intrepid scholars hurl themselves at the Andean state, but they bring an analytical imagination and ethnographic practice to match the shape-shifting social production of the state that we can all learn from. A major break in the sterile, realist clouds that have obscured a more nuanced understanding of both state effects and state affects."—James C. Scott, Yale UniversityIn the last few decades, Andean states have seen major restructuring of the organization, leadership, and reach of their governments. With these political tremors come major aftershocks, regarding both definitions and expectations: What is a state? Who or what makes it up, and where does it reside? In what capacity can the state be expected to right wrongs, raise people up, protect them from harm, maintain order, or provide public services? What are its powers and responsibilities?
"A very important book for political anthropologists and historians of state formation. Its compelling and unique argument will be a fascinating intervention"—Nancy Postero, University of California, San Diego
"A splendid collection of very strong essays by first-class scholars that contributes to the regional ethnographic and historical literature and to discussions of the nature of the state, political rule, and citizenship in the region. State Theory and Andean Politics fills a void."—Finn Stepputat, Danish Institute for International Studies
State Theory and Andean Politics attempts to answer these questions and more through an examination of the ongoing process of state creation in Andean nations. Focusing on the everyday, extraofficial, and frequently invisible or partially concealed permutations of rule in the lives of Andean people, the essays explore the material and cultural processes by which states come to appear as real and tangible parts of everyday life. In particular, they focus on the critical role of emotion, imagination, and fantasy in generating belief in the state, among the governed and the governing alike. This approach pushes beyond the limits of the state as conventionally understood to consider how "nonstate" acts of governance intersect with official institutions of government, while never being entirely determined by them or bound to their authorizing agendas. State Theory and Andean Politics asserts that the state is not simply an institutional-bureaucratic apparatus but one of many forces vying for a claim to legitimate political dominion.
Featuring an impressive array of Andeanist scholars as well as eminent state theorists Akhil Gupta and Gyanendra Pandey, State Theory and Andean Politics makes a bold and novel claim about the nature of states and state-making that deepens understanding not only of the Andes and the Global South but of the world at large.
Contributors: Kim Clark, Nicole Fabricant, Lesley Gill, Akhil Gupta, Christopher Krupa, David Nugent, Gyanendra Pandey, Mercedes Prieto, Maria Clemencia Ramírez, Irene Silverblatt, Karen Spalding, Winifred Tate.
Christopher Krupa teaches anthropology at the University of Toronto.
David Nugent is Professor of Anthropology and director of the Master's in Development Practice program at Emory University. He is the author of Modernity at the Edge of Empire: State, Individual, and Nation in the Northern Peruvian Andes.