introduction: ethnographic articulations
1. ‘‘Structural adjustment’’ refers to privatization, downsizing, decentralization, and
market liberalization pushed by the imf and the World Bank during the 1990s.
2. From a reformist perspective, see J. Nelson 1999; Corrales 1999; Contreras and
Talavera Simoni 2003; and Grindle 2004. On reform as a Westernizing imposition,
see Patzi 1999 and Arnold and Yapita 2006.
3. This ethnographic interest in the meanings of inequality and state legitimacy di√ers
from quantitative studies of inequality (also called social exclusion or inequity) fo-
cused on statistical links between school quality, poverty, and individual mobility. See,
for example, Reimers 2000; Anderson and Wiebelt 2003; Hall and Patrinos 2005.
4. I take the phrase ‘‘coloniality of power’’ from Quijano 2000. See also Mignolo 2005;
Stepputat 2005; Rivera Cusicanqui 1993; Walsh 2005; and below.
5. I use epistemic to refer to knowledge, its social and discursive modes of validation, and
to power relations that adhere to knowledge production. By ‘‘epistemic inequality’’ I
do not mean unequal access to supposedly universal science or literacy, but the
racialized epistemic inequality that emerged out of the colonial assault on indigenous
languages, religions, and ways of being and knowing in the world. Epistemic equality
demands epistemic rights to produce other knowledges as a form of political and
territorial authority, distinct from multicultural views of cultural rights to individual
di√erence (Mignolo 2005:118–20).
6. In 1989, 65.5 percent of public-sector spending depended on foreign loans (53 per-
cent) and donations (12.5 percent). Between 1998 and 1999, 30 percent of public-
sector revenues still came from foreign loans and donations. Neoliberalism main-
tained foreign debt payments that, along with costs incurred from privatization, made
up 44 percent of state finance ministry expenditure by 1999. Bureaucracies were
downsized, but ministries like finance—my friends called them the ‘‘structural ad-
justers’’—maintained a sizeable sta√. Dependent on aid, Bolivian functionaries thus
became employees of foreign development agencies. Through this period education
maintained a stable percentage of public expenditure around 12 percent (Fernández
Terán 2004:82, 126, 134–39).
7. In rural areas, 86 percent of indigenous and 74 percent of nonindigenous Bolivians are
poor (Hall and Patrinos 2005).
8. Q./A.: pacha, time, space, earth; kuti, turnover; as between seasons, epochs, or regimes.
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