Populism and Performance in the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela

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Publication Date
March 2018
Page Count
224 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Populism and Performance in the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela

Angela Marino

Populism and Performance in the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela is an innovative examination of how supporters of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez engaged in performance practice to build and negotiate the terms of populism. In Angela Marino’s analysis populism is the practice of politics by ordinary people, which may include a variety of behaviors and forms of cultural production in live events, media, and the built environment.

?Beginning with populism as an embodied act, Marino draws attention to cultural performance, storytelling, theater, dance, film, and visual art to suggest that the populism of Venezuela’s emergent socialism reached its fullest expression in face-to-face live performance. Focusing on performances involving the devil, a figure frequently depicted in Venezuelan popular culture, she demonstrates that performance became a vehicle through which cultural producers negotiated boundaries of inclusion and exclusion in ways that overcame the simplistic logic of good versus evil, us versus them. She then argues that the politics of the devil dances resurfaced in theater, film, and other media both to antagonize and to unify social movements against dictatorship and neoliberalism. The result is a nuanced insight to the process of political mobilization during times of monumental change.

By foregrounding the repertoires of populism, this book brings attention to voices that have been erased or left out of view by global media. Both capturing a vital record of the movement and providing valuable insights into its internal dynamics, Populism and Performance will interest readers in Latin American politics and political science, cultural studies, and performance studies.
About the Author

ANGELA MARINOi s an assistant professor in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

“This is a first-rate work that demonstrates Marino’s thorough command of the secondary literature of both theoretical and empirical significance. The author breaks new ground by questioning the validity of alternative views of populism that stress the polarizing, as opposed to the unifying, tendency of populist movements. This book will appeal broadly to scholars across several areas of politics and performance practice, and provide a rich theoretical discussion that is relevant to the fields of philosophy and political science.”  —Steven Ellner, editor of Latin America’s Radical Left: Challenges and Complexities of Political Power in the Twenty-First Century

"I know of no other book that deals specifically with Venezuelan theatre and performance during the Chavez years, which makes this work significant. It will be a good complement to the wealth of scholarship available on Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution, as well as an important addition to Latin American theater and performance scholarship."
 —Adam Versenyi, author of Theatre in Latin America: Religion, Politics, and Culture From Cortés to the 1980s