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Forgetting the revolution and remembering the war: Memory and violence in highland Bolivia

Canessa, A (2009) 'Forgetting the revolution and remembering the war: Memory and violence in highland Bolivia.' History Workshop Journal, 68 (1). 173 - 198. ISSN 1363-3554

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Numerous commentators have referred to the process which brought newly elected indigenous president Evo Morales to power as a revolution. This social revolution's primary referent is the Bolivian Revolution of 1952 which freed indians from their serf-like status and overthrew the creole oligarchy. The paper explores the memories and stories of the Aymara-speaking people of Pocobaya and neighbouring communities about the mid twentieth-century events. In these accounts extreme violence plays a major role in marking the exceptionality of the events and accounting for the rupture of communities, elevating what occurred to the level of mythic history. In their accounts, Pocobayeños make scant reference to the Revolution but accord themselves a major role in overthrowing the landlords: they become major protagonists in history and not simply bystanders, transforming themselves from victims to heroic agents. As twenty-first century Pocobayeños contemplate their present and future in the days of the latest Bolivian revolution, they do so through the lens of history: for them the events of the mid twentieth century are indeed a major point of reference; but it is not a history that will be easily recognized by historians and politicians. © The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of History Workshop Journal, all rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2012 10:10
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2019 16:16

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