A post-welfarist regime of the social

The ‘social’ is no longer the diverse sector that is subject to the ineluctable logic of bureaucratic rationalization under the aegis of the welfare state. Rather, the social is reconfigured as a series of ‘quasi-markets’ in the provision of services and external to the state, and the forms of ‘natural liberty’ on which they depend, to one of constructing centres of agency and activity, of making them durable, and of implanting continuous relations of authority. These centres are then placed under the discrete and indirect surveillance of regulatory authorities in order to normalize, stability, and optimize activities, identities and power relations.

A post-welfarist regime of the social [Dean, Governmentality, 2nd edition: 200-3]  Continue reading “A post-welfarist regime of the social”


PhD Exam Reading List

Area 1: Non-linear Historical Materialism Continue reading “PhD Exam Reading List”

Hung Jury

It seems impossible to travel on the streets of El Alto without coming across hanging dolls. Whether in the main avenues or the more secluded and quiet neighborhood streets, the figures are testament to a peculiarity that distinguishes the Aymara city.  Some display posters (“Death to thieves,” for example), but most of the dolls made and hung by the residents simply have their heads turned sideways, simulating death by beheading. Other are covered in red paint symbolizing bloody, signifying punishment and death. “The hanging dolls mean that here is a house that has been robbed.”n1 Continue reading “Hung Jury”

Movement as Institutions and as a Moving-of-itself

From, Raúl Zibechi, Dispersing Power: Social Movements as Anti-State Forces, pg 82-90

There is a large body of work dealing with social movements that focuses, as a whole, on three questions: organization, collective identity, and codes of mobilization.n49 This view is hegemonic in the sociology of social movements and, accordingly, gives priority to aspects of the movements like structure, cohesion, and definition of objectives.n50 To be considered in this way, movements must have an organization that is different from that which preceded its emergence, because social relations immersed in the daily lives of the people are not regarded as organization per se. They should have a common [83] goal (Garciá Linera); minimum standards of cohesion (Sandoval et al); and finally, present strategic (Garciá Linera) or well-defined objectives (Sandoval et al). Continue reading “Movement as Institutions and as a Moving-of-itself”

From Commune to Commun-ication in the Heat of Insurrection

From Raúl Zibechi, Dispersing Power, p 60-4:

Maturana and Varela argue that in communication there is no “information transmitted” but only a linkage of behaviors. They question the so-called “metaphor of the tube,” according to which ‘communication is something that is generated in one spot, carried by a conduit (or tube), and delivered to another at the receiving end.” Continue reading “From Commune to Commun-ication in the Heat of Insurrection”

The Pigs Will Drown in a Sea of Stones

From, Raúl Zibechi, Dispersing Power, pg 51-2:

It should be noted that the road blockades constructed by rural farmers materialize in a different way than traditional workers’ barricades. While these [worker’s barricades] are more or less compact fortifications, in which demonstrators are ensconced to defend themselves (military-style), rural blockades are like a carpet of stones spread over 500 meters along the road. This means that there is no _one_ place to defend but a large extended area, which does not require the presence of people to be effective. The _compesinos_ are dispersed in the surrounding hills from which, based on their territorial advantage, they can harass the state’s forces, making it difficult for them to advance as a result of their inability to concentrate their forces on one point of resistance. Continue reading “The Pigs Will Drown in a Sea of Stones”

Everyday Life Pierces the Fragile Heart of the Metropolis

Raúl Zibechi, Dispersing Power: Social Movements as Anti-State Forces, p50-1:

On the other hand, it is clear that before the magnitude of the September-October [2003] events [of the Bolivian Gas War, which rode on the coattails of the 2000 Cochabamba water war], institutionalized forms of social action had not succeeded in curbing the sale of gas. To be on top of the events, the neighbors had to create and invent something new, and to do so they had to go out into the streets en masse, dig themselves into their barrios, and overstep the very types of social action that they had executed in the decades before. These days the El Alto community spread out over the territory, neutralizing the armed repression by seizing areas that the army needs to pass through in order to deploy The El Alto social machine was able to disperse the state’s military machine, and to do so had to overstep their own organization and leaders not only because they were ineffective at defending and fighting, but also because these leaders and organizations had already formed part of that “other” that needed to be dispersed, as we shall see further on. Continue reading “Everyday Life Pierces the Fragile Heart of the Metropolis”