A Revolution in Fragments

Traversing Scales of Justice, Ideology, and Practice in Bolivia

Book Pages: 320 Illustrations: 28 illustrations Published: November 2019

Author: Mark Goodale

Anthropology, Latin American Studies, Politics

The years between 2006 and 2015, during which Evo Morales became Bolivia's first indigenous president, have been described as a time of democratic and cultural revolution, world renewal (Pachakuti), reconstituted neoliberalism, or simply “the process of change.” In A Revolution in Fragments Mark Goodale unpacks these various analytical and ideological frameworks to reveal the fragmentary and contested nature of Bolivia's radical experiments in pluralism, ethnic politics, and socioeconomic planning. Privileging the voices of social movement leaders, students, indigenous intellectuals, women's rights activists, and many others, Goodale uses contemporary Bolivia as an ideal case study with which to theorize the role that political agency, identity, and economic equality play within movements for justice and structural change.


“This major piece of scholarship on contemporary Bolivia offers profound theoretical insights and contributions. I have no doubt that this fabulous book will become an authoritative text.” — Andrew Canessa, author of Intimate Indigeneities: Race, Sex, and History in the Small Spaces of Andean Life

“Revolutionary change has proven profoundly difficult for anthropologists to handle, both in theoretical and descriptive terms. Against this background, A Revolution in Fragments is a triumph. Both a compelling theoretical account of the nature of ‘revolution by constitution’ and a gripping ethnography of the revolutionary process as it unfolded over more than a decade in Bolivia, this is a book no one interested in the nature and potential of radical social transformation should miss.” — Joel Robbins, University of Cambridge

“The rich ethnographic and historical detail that Goodale provides makes A Revolution in Fragments a thoroughly engaging and illuminating read…. Goodale captures the complexity and political multiplicity that comes to the fore during times of revolution and produces an original and thoughtful account of the Morales years, a welcome addition to the growing literature on Bolivia in general.”

— Angus McNelly, Bulletin of Latin American Research

"Recommended. Graduate students and faculty." — S. L. Rozman, Choice

A Revolution in Fragments ... is distinctive in its breadth.... This book should be one of the first to turn to for anyone wishing to better understand ... the nature of Bolivian politics during the era of Evo Morales.”  — Jonathan Alderman, Journal of Latin American Studies


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Mark Goodale is Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology at the University of Lausanne and the author and editor of numerous books, most recently, The Bolivia Reader: History, Culture, Politics, also published by Duke University Press, and Anthropology and Law.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface  ix
Introduction. Meaning and Crisis in Cosmic Time  1
1. Hearing Revolution in a Minor Key  33
2. Legal Cosmovisions  64
3. Opposition as a Cultural System: Myth, Embodiment, Violence  95
4. A Revolution without Revolutionaries: El proceso de cambio in a Trotskyized Country  134
5. The Unstable Assemblage of Law  166
6. And the Pututu Shall Sound  200
Conclusion. The Politics of Forever  234
Notes  249
References  265
Index  283
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0652-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0586-5