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Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Jorge Derpic - "The Anemic State: Lynchings and Modalities of State Presence in Bolivia"

Mon, December 2, 2013 • 5:00 PM • Ethnography Lab Conference Room (CLA 3.214F)

Jorge Derpic will present on his dissertation research. He will discuss the rising use of lynchings in Bolivia, focusing on the role of judicial processes and the views of state officials and victims. Please see the abstract below for more details.

Sponsored by the Social Movements and Collective Action (SMCA) working group, a sub-section of the Power, History, and Society student-faculty network.

For more information, please contact PHS coordinator Dan Jaster.

"The Anemic State: Lynchings and Modalities of State Presence in Bolivia"

The number of lynchings of alleged criminals has been steadily growing in Bolivia during the last ten years. In order to explain their growing use, media outlets and academics have paid particular attention to structural and cultural factors, the perspectives of neighbors, and their immediate aftermath. Yet, they have left out of their analyses the perspectives of state officials and victims, as well as the judicial processes that follow lynchings. This research project incorporates these perspectives and processes, focusing on marginal urban areas of the city of El Alto, one of the urban centers where lynchings have taken place in this period. Through ethnographic research, this study aims to answer three basic questions: 1) Why are lynchings taking place in highly organized neighborhoods?, 2) Why is the state unable to protect poor citizens from crime, but punish them if they participate in the lynching of alleged criminals?  and 3) What are the modalities of state presence in urban marginal areas of El Alto? In answering these questions, this project engages in conversation with theories on the neoliberal penal state (Wacquant, 2001); collective violence (Tilly, 2003); and state margins (Gupta, 1995).


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