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Beyond the Lexicon of Difference: Discursive Performance of Identity in the Andes

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Rosaleen Howard


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This article argues for a performative approach to the analysis of cultural identity in the Andes, drawing on empirical evidence in the form of verbal discourses recorded during field research in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Inspired by deconstructionist theory and method, the author explores the means by which speakers constitute their subject positions in the act of speaking, by means of certain discursive strategies that do not necessarily include the lexicon of social classification. Where such signifiers ('indgena', 'mestizo', etc.) are resorted to, she shows how these are inexorably destabilized in verbal performances; closure of identity is ever 'deferred' - the 'strategic essentialism' (Spivak) evoked in indigenous political discourse, for example, may also be interpreted within this framework.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Howard R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies

Year: 2009

Volume: 4

Issue: 1

Pages: 17-46

ISSN (print): 1744-2222

ISSN (electronic): 1744-2230

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/17442220802681415


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