Grounding Rights

Populist and Peasant Conceptions of Entitlement in Rural Nicaragua

in Social Analysis
View More View Less
  • 1 University College London dtcooper@ucl.ac.uk
Restricted access

Abstract

Since the Sandinistas returned to power in Nicaragua in 2007, ideas about rights have been central to the governing party’s populist project. The rights in question are understood to require the production of ‘organized’ citizens, integrated into mechanisms of popular governance. But for rural Sandinistas who participated in the revolutionary agrarian reform of the 1980s, rights are about land; and for some, realizing rights has required disentangling themselves from local organs of organized life, resulting in their exclusion from the government’s populist model of rights. The contending ideas about how to legitimately ground rights that result—and the effort of these excluded Sandinistas to make revolutionary ‘struggle’ the basis of entitlements—trouble a standard anthropological model that views abstract rights as subsequently particularized in practice.

Contributor Notes

David Cooper is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at University College London. He conducted fieldwork in rural Nicaragua, focusing on the way Sandinista supporters understand their involvement with the party’s ongoing project. This led to an investigation of the intersection of campesino social life and ‘Pink Tide’ politics in Nicaragua, particularly in relation to themes of land rights, clientelism, envy, and state welfare projects. He is currently working on a monograph, provisionally titled “El Pueblo Presidente: The Moral Economy of Populism in Rural Nicaragua.” E-mail: dtcooper@ucl.ac.uk

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

  • Abu-Lughod, Lila. 2010. “The Active Social Life of ‘Muslim Women’s Rights’: A Plea for Ethnography, Not Polemic, with Cases from Egypt and Palestine.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 6 (1): 145.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Baumeister, Eduardo. 1984. “Agrarian Structure and Reform in the Sandinista Plan.” Desarrollo Economico: Revista de Ciencias Sociales 24 (94): 187202.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Baumeister, Eduardo. 1985. “The Structure of Nicaraguan Agriculture and the Sandinista Agrarian Reform.” In Nicaragua: A Revolution Under Siege, ed. Richard L. Harris and Carlos M. Vilas, 1035. London: Zed Books.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Baumeister, Eduardo. 2012. “The Politics of Land Reform.” In Close et al. 2012, 245268.

  • Close, David. 2016. Nicaragua: Navigating the Politics of Democracy. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.

  • Close, David, Salvador Martí i Puig, and Shelley A. McConnell, eds. 2012. The Sandinistas and Nicaragua Since 1979. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cowan, Jane K., Marie-Bénédicte Dembour, and Richard A. Wilson. 2001. “Introduction.” In Culture and Rights: Anthropological Perspectives, ed. Jane K. Cowan, Marie-Bénédicte Dembour, and Richard A. Wilson, 126. Cambridge: Cambridge University.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cruz Feliciano, Héctor M. 2009. “Los CPC en Nicaragua: Un análisis sobre la articulación, el diseño y la implementación del Poder Ciudadano” [CPCs in Nicaragua: An analysis of the articulation, design, and implementation of Citizen Power]. Paper presented at the 2009 Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, Rio de Janeiro, 11–14 June.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Englund, Harri. 2006. Prisoners of Freedom: Human Rights and the African Poor. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

  • Enríquez, Laura J. 1991. Harvesting Change: Labor and Agrarian Reform in Nicaragua, 1979–1990. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Francis, Hilary. Forthcoming. “The Difference the Revolution Made: Decision-Making in Liberal and Sandinista Communities.” In A Nicaraguan Exceptionalism? Debating the Legacy of the Sandinista Revolution, ed. Hilary Francis. London: Institute of Latin American Studies.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Goldstein, Daniel M. 2013. “Whose Vernacular? Translating Human Rights in Local Contexts.” In Human Rights at the Crossroads, ed. Mark Goodale, 111121. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Goodale, Mark. 2006. “Toward a Critical Anthropology of Human Rights.” Current Anthropology 47 (3): 485511.

  • Goodale, Mark. 2007. “The Power of Right (s): Tracking Empires of Law and New Modes of Social Resistance in Bolivia (and Elsewhere).” In Goodale and Merry 2007, 130162.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Goodale, Mark, and Sally Engle Merry, eds. 2007. The Practice of Human Rights: Tracking Law between the Global and the Local. Cambridge: University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • GRUN (Government of Reconciliation and National Unity). 2008. “Solo el Poder Ciudadano construye la democracia!” [Only Citizen Power builds democracy!]. Speech delivered at Sesión de Trabajo de los Gabinetes del Poder Ciudadano, Casa de los Pueblos 13 de junio del 2008 [Working session of Cabinets of Citizen Power, Casa de los Pueblos, 13 June 2008].

    • Export Citation
  • GRUN (Government of Reconciliation and National Unity). 2012. “Plan Nacional de Desarrollo Humano actualizado 2012–2016” [National human development plan implemented 2012–2016]. http://www.pndh.gob.ni/.

    • Export Citation
  • Gudeman, Stephen, and Alberto Rivera. 1990. Conversations in Colombia: The Domestic Economy in Life and Text. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hann, Chris. 2007. “A New Double Movement? Anthropological Perspectives on Property in the Age of Neoliberalism.” Socio-Economic Review 5 (2): 287318.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hetherington, Kregg. 2009. “Privatizing the Private in Rural Paraguay: Precarious Lots and the Materiality of Rights.” American Ethnologist 36 (2): 224241.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Howe, Cymene. 2013. Intimate Activism: The Struggle for Sexual Rights in Post-revolutionary Nicaragua. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Li, Tania M. 2014. Land’s End: Capitalist Relations on an Indigenous Frontier. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Macpherson, C. B. (1962) 2011. The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke. Ontario: Oxford University Press Canada.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Martí i Puig, Salvador. 2016. “Nicaragua: Desdemocratización y caudillismo” [Nicaragua: De-democratization and caudillismo]. Revista de Ciencia Política 36 (1): 239258.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Martí i Puig, Salvador, and Eduardo Baumeister. 2017. “Agrarian Policies in Nicaragua: From Revolution to the Revival of Agro-exports, 1979–2015.” Journal of Agrarian Change 17 (2): 381396.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Merry, Sally Engle. 2003. “Rights Talk and the Experience of Law: Implementing Women’s Human Rights to Protection from Violence.” Human Rights Quarterly 25 (2): 343381.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Merry, Sally Engle. 2006a. Human Rights and Gender Violence: Translating International Law into Local Justice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Merry, Sally Engle. 2006b. “Transnational Human Rights and Local Activism: Mapping the Middle.” American Anthropologist 108 (1): 3851.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MINED (Ministry of Education). 2014. Convivencia y Civismo 2: Educación Primaria, Serie educativa: “Educación gratuita y de calidad, derecho humano fundamental de las y los nicaragüenses” [Community and citizenship 2: Primary education, educational series: “High-quality free education: Fundamental human right of all Nicaraguans”]. Managua: Ministry of Education.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Saldaña-Portillo, María Josefina. 1997. “Developmentalism’s Irresistible Seduction: Rural Subjectivity under Sandinista Agricultural Policy.” In The Politics of Culture in the Shadow of Capital, ed. Lisa Lowe and David Lloyd, 132172. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Saldaña-Portillo, María Josefina. 2003. The Revolutionary Imagination in the Americas and the Age of Development. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Scott, James C. 1998. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Spalding, Rose J. 2012. “Poverty Politics.” In Close et al. 2012, 215243.

  • Tate, Winifred. 2007. Counting the Dead: The Culture and Politics of Human Rights Activism in Colombia. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thiesenhusen, William C. 1995. Broken Promises: Agrarian Reform and the Latin American Campesino. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

  • Tsing, Anna L. 2005. Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Verdery, Katherine. 2003. The Vanishing Hectare: Property and Value in Postsocialist Transylvania. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wolford, Wendy. 2007. “Land Reform in the Time of Neoliberalism: A Many-Splendored Thing.” Antipode 39 (3): 550570.

  • Zigon, Jarrett. 2018. Disappointment: Toward a Critical Hermeneutics of World building. New York: Fordham University Press.

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 14 14 7
Full Text Views 22 22 0
PDF Downloads 23 23 0