Sonorous Sovereignty

  • Michelle Bigenho


During the Carnival tour Yureños never hurried.1 When people told me about the tour, I had originally feared physical exhaustion from walking. But my own exhaustion stemmed more from the apparently slow progress toward the village of Yura. The flauta troupe might spend two or three hours in a single house before continuing the tour to another house. In the morning hours, the tour moved along, but as the level of inebriation rose throughout the day, the length of time spent in each house increased. The importance of time dwindled when faced with the task of sonorously filling space. Our only spacetime (Munn 1986: 10) obligation was to be in the village of Yura for Ash Wednesday, but any unvisited area of the ayllu could also be toured after that day. Carnival season in Yura extended from the Thursday before Carnival, Jueves de Comadres (Thursday of Comothers), to Domingo de Tentaciones (Sunday of Temptations) and beyond, in all about a two-week period beginning the Thursday before Ash Wednesday and continuing until the Sunday after Ash Wednesday. Yureños told me that Carnival only ends when the corn beer, or chicha, is gone; chicha cannot be stored and must be consumed within about a week after it is made.


Representative Democracy Bolivian State Popular Participation Indigenous Organization Municipal Section 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 3.
    Michael Herzfeld is not alone in transferring the study of religion to the study of the state; Michael Taussig does precisely this to explain State fetishism (1992). The genealogy of both arguments explicitly harks back to Emile Durkheim’s The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1915). Bruce Kapferer implemented a similar twist by comparing Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism and Australian nationalism as religions (1988). In this case I am not dealing with popular nationalism, but rather with that problematic hyphenated form, the nation-state—the way that the Bolivian nation-state incorporates its multiple “nations” under a single state.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michelle Bigenho 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle Bigenho

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations