A book about open-ended documents can hardly be tied up
at the end with something so pat as a conclusion. Moreover,
to suddenly rest my case on a stable ending would also be
to jump the political ship onto which I was invited after the
shootings in Tekojoja. After all, ethnography as a form of
stabilizing representation played a central role in solidify-
ing the distinction between campesinos and new democrats
during the Paraguayan transition. The popular literary genre
of paraguayolog’a, at times satirical, and at times quite ear-
nest, traced a portrait of the nation from which Paraguay’s
middle-class urbanites could distinguish themselves as they
yearned for democracy. The objectification of Paraguay as a
largely rural mass, stuck in the past and prone to authori-
tarianism, established new democratic subjectivity just as it
created a new slot and function for the campesinado as the
foil for transparency. Ironically, that very exclusionary prac-
tice was necessary to the belief that all of Paraguay could,
at some level, be represented as information, and that this
would inevitably bring about a more just, more inclusive,
and more efficient democratic society. Into such a mix,
it would hardly seem advisable to claim that I could settle
things ethnographically once and for all.
But then history is full of moments when the clocks stop,
moments of rupture and rearticulation when the terms that
made sense in the past no longer seem adequate to explain
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