introduction
In this book I examine the uneven, incomplete, and ongoing passage
from national to postnational cultural and political paradigms in Latin
America, with the understanding that postnational does not signify the
final demise of the nation but, rather, its profound and far-reaching re-
definition and restructuration in the face of increasingly transnational
realities. The analyses included in this volume draw specifically on litera-
ture, film, popular culture, and theoretical reflection on the relation be-
tween modern Latin American national histories and postmodern state
and culture formations. This interdisciplinary approach to contempo-
rary social, political, and cultural processes allows me to discuss the com-
plexity of some of the distinct periods of transition that, over the course
of the last three decades, have risen to the fore of intellectual, popular,
and governmental concerns in, for example, Mexico, Central America
(El Salvador), the Andes (Peru), the Southern Cone (Argentina and
Chile), and the United States.
This volume is a meditation on the distinct terms, conditions, and
limits (as well as on the profound differences generated from within and
as a result) of Latin America’s continued and often violent insertion
into late capitalism and its increasingly global networks of accumula-
tion. However, the book also raises the question of the thinkability of
that order, together with reflection’s relation to social change, in what are
generally hailed to be postrevolutionary times. It is an evaluation of in-
herited conceptual and representational systems, and of their limits and
usefulness (or lack thereof ), when thinking through the conditions of the
current historical transition away from the national revolutionary period
and into the passage toward global accumulation.
A few words here are necessary regarding, first, the overall structure
of the book and, second, its title. Following this I will give a preliminary
overview of the issues and themes presented in each chapter.
As already noted, this book includes specific evaluations of the pas-
sage from national to transnational realities in direct reference to Mexico,
Peru, El Salvador, Argentina, and Chile. It also includes brief analyses
of Venezuelan, Ecuadorian, and Bolivian culture and state formations,
together with a chapter dealing with the ways in which recent Latin
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