Coffee and socialism in the Venezuelan Andes

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  • 1 University of Edinburgh akappele@ed.ac.uk
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Abstract

Based on ethnographic fieldwork in the highlands of Barinas, this article investigates the impact of “twenty-first century socialist” policies on the Andean peasantry and the relationships established as part of Venezuela's ongoing agrarian reform. The analysis explores the historical and material-cultural factors surrounding coffee production in the Andes and the dynamics that have shaped a small group of growers. It examines the recent efforts of the Venezuelan government to increase domestic coffee production and support internal growers, suggesting that attempts to insert the state into the rentier structure of the coffee economy have somewhat inadvertently reinforced a working-class consciousness. The ethnographic vignette illustrates the present relationship of state functionaries to coffee growers and narrates their analysis of the conditions, showing the contradictory effect these relations have on the social awareness of growers.

Contributor Notes

Aaron Kappeler is Lecturer in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh. His research focuses on the politics of natural resources, agriculture, and rural development in Latin America. He has published articles on environment and infrastructure in the Global South, and his current work investigates the dynamics of petro-populism and the redistribution of wealth from extractive industries. Before joining the University of Edinburgh, he was Visiting Assistant Professor at Union College, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Institute for Advanced Study at Central European University, and Course Instructor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. Email: akappele@ed.ac.uk

Focaal

Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology

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