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"This Is Not a Parade, It's a Protest March": Intertextuality, Citation, and Political Action on the Streets of Bolivia and Argentina

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Lazar, S 


Street demonstrations are a common form of political action across Latin America and globally. In this article, I explore some aspects of their symbolic and experiential power, with a focus on ideas of physical and visual intertextuality and their importance in the construction of political agency. I do so through an examination of the symbolic and aesthetic experiential politics of dances, parades, and demonstrations in Bolivia, suggesting that similarities between these practices constitute a kind of citation, which enables each to partake of the symbolic power and resonance of the others. I then investigate the similar political and symbolic work done in Argentine demonstrations by visual (and auditory) intertextuality—but in this case across practices separated by time. I argue that the concept of intertextuality enables an understanding of agency that is not confined to conscious human intentionality and that acknowledges readers as much as actors.



political ritual, street protests, intertextuality, citation, political agency, Bolivia, Argentina, Latin America

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American Anthropologist

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Field research in Argentina was conducted with the assistance of the Eileen and Phyllis Gibbs Travel Fellowship of Newnham College, Cambridge, and the financial support of the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Fieldwork in Bolivia was conducted with the support of the United Kingdom Economic and Social Research Council and Centre of Latin American Studies in Cambridge.