Political Power and Social Theory: Volume 15

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Table of contents

(15 chapters)

In this paper I discuss the impact of participatory reforms to municipal governance on local civil society in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Carried out by administrators of the Worker's Party (PT), these reforms have created a variety of empowered participatory fora on municipal policy. In contrast to a previous period of “tutelage” in which neighborhood associations vacillated between acquiescence and conflict with municipal government, these reforms have fostered new institutions in civil society, a greater interconnectedness between local organizations, and a ‘scaling up’ of activism away from solely neighborhood to city-wide concerns. To properly consider this impact I propose a ‘relational’ framework that considers the role of state-civil society relationships in creating an environment more or less conducive to civic involvement.

One of the most striking characteristics of Chile's post-military political order has been the surprisingly harmonious relations between the ruling center-left Conceración de Partidos por la Democracia and the country's economic elite. The resulting accommodation is of such significance, in fact, as to form the basis of a new socio-political compromise, only the second in Chile since the advent of mass democracy nearly seventy years ago. This article seeks to explain this outcome and to examine its implications for Chile's new democracy.

This essay applies post-structuralist insights to analysis of states by conceptualizing the state as a culturally and historically situated “subject.” Using anthropological and historical research on states and on Mexican politics, it demonstrates that the study of states requires examination of the cultures and internal fragmentation of states, as well as the local and regional trajectories of state actors and agencies. By “seeing and not seeing” the state as a bounded, purposeful actor, we can acknowledge the force and cohesiveness of states, while simultaneously recognizing the mixture of fragments and pieces, with their own histories, out of which states are constituted.

How can we understand the colonial state? Specifically, what explains variation in “native policy,” the cornerstone of colonial rule? This article examines the development of German colonialism in Southwest Africa (with respect to the Hereros, Witboois, and Rehoboth Basters), Samoa, and Qingdao, China. I emphasize five main determinants of policy: (1) precolonial ethnographic representations; (2) colonial officials' competitive jockeying with one another for cultural distinction; (3) colonial officials' psychic processes of imaginary identification with the colonized; (4) practices of collaboration and resistance by the colonized; and (5) the structure of the colonial state as a determinant of its own policies.

This essay analyzes how elite and subaltern efforts to regulate gender, sexuality, and family, helped define the class and race contours of the nation. It examines the Chilean nation building process, which has generally been conceptualized in class terms, alongside other countries, where there is a denser historiography on race, to demonstrate that national identities were constructed on a common, racialized, discursive terrain. The reformist and populist alliances that emerged throughout Latin America in the 1920s and 1930s drew from newer scientific discourses of race and eugenics but also reworked racialized colonial and nineteenthcentury articulations of gender and citizenship.

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Political Power and Social Theory
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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