Arguedas: Capital y conversión

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In José María Arguedas's anthropological studies of Peru's southern central highlands, transculturation codes the historical logic of capital. The present essay takes, as its point of departure, Latin American subalternist critics who, in the 1990s and 2000s, identified the supposedly homogenizing logic of capital with that of transculturation or mestizaje as state ideology. By contrast, more recent interventions in postcolonial and Marxist theory suggest that what was at stake for Andean society and culture was not its wholesale destruction or incorporation into the nation-state, but rather the expedience of its preservation for the accumulation of capital. Arguedas's treatment of transculturation as a question of the so-called total conversion of the subject of highland property into a bourgeois individual mirrors the kind of anthropological transformation that Marx posited as part of the historical arc of capitalism's development and supposedly imminent demise. By underscoring the moment of total conversion as a semblance necessary for capturing non-capitalist ways of life, Arguedas's studies provide a space for considering the subjective effects of capital beyond teleological or reductive understandings of its historical unfolding.
Translated title of the contributionArguedas: Capital and conversion
Original languageSpanish
JournalRevista de Estudios Hispanicos
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)319-344
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 06.2021

    Research areas

  • Science of art
  • Arguedas, anthropology, transculturation, modernization, subsumption, capital