Van Fleet, “On Devils and the Dissolution of Sociality”

November 22, 2011

Van Fleet, Krista E. 2011. On Devils and the Dissolution of Sociality: Andean Catholics Voicing Ambivalence in Neoliberal Bolivia. Anthropological Quarterly 84(4): 835-864.

Abstract: In the Andean highlands of Bolivia, people sometimes express their ambivalence over the religious conversion of family and community members through stories about evangelical Protestants who have been possessed by Santuku or the devil. The article analyzes these narratives as part of a larger genre of devil stories and as a window onto the multiple ways Andean Catholics link migration, religious conversion, and death in the context of broader neoliberal transformations. From the perspective of those “left behind”—Catholic family and community members—conversion empties the future. Nevertheless, the necessary labor of dissolving or reconfiguring social relationships is undertaken by both Catholics and evangelical Protestants and sheds light on the production of sociality in 21st century Bolivia.

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