After Servitude: Elusive Property and the Ethics of Kinship in Bolivia (Paperback)

After Servitude: Elusive Property and the Ethics of Kinship in Bolivia By Dr. Mareike Winchell Cover Image


How are injurious pasts redeployed by the dispossessed? After Servitude explores how agrarian engineers, Indigenous farmers, Mestizo mining bosses, and rural workers navigate racial hierarchies rooted in histories of forced agrarian labor. In the rural Bolivian province of Ayopaya, where the liberatory promises of property remain elusive, Quechua people address such hierarchies by demanding aid from Mestizo elites and, when that fails, through acts of labor militancy. Against institutional faith in property ownership as a means to detach land from people and present from past, the kin of former masters and servants alike have insisted that ethical debts from earlier racial violence stretch across epochs and formal land sales. What emerges is a vision of justice grounded in popular demands that wealth remain beholden to the region’s agrarian past. By tracing Ayopayans’ active efforts to contend with servitude’s long shadow, Mareike Winchell illuminates the challenges that property confronts as both an extractive paradigm and a means of historical redress.

About the Author

Mareike Winchell is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago.


Praise For…

"After Servitude invites us to pay closer attention to the ways people make claims on each other as they assert and rework the bonds of relatedness—as a means of repair, but not escape from the past."
— Anthropological Quarterly

"In After Servitude justice is described as a historical continuum that may lead to redress if it is interpreted appropriately by the actors of the present. Justice is something that has to be socially enacted, secured from the other, sometimes by force."

— PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review

"Through her deft interweaving of classical and contemporary social theory and the actions and words of her Bolivian interlocutors, Winchell creates a complex and sobering picture of the tangled and often contradictory valences of who lays claims to former hacienda land, how those claims are raised and resolved, and the extent to which land as property is intertwined with long-standing schemas of sociality and inequity in Bolivia’s central highlands."

— American Ethnologist

"After Servitude speaks to the value of deep ethnographic spadework for understanding and assessing the complex challenges and limits of Bolivia’s ongoing experiment in postcolonial state-building."
— Journal of Interdisciplinary History

Product Details
ISBN: 9780520386440
ISBN-10: 0520386442
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: June 28th, 2022
Pages: 352
Language: English