An Ethnography of Grandeur
This chapter concludes the study of Bolivia's complicated modern trajectory by examining development and its discontents. In many ways, the encounter with development encapsulates (and restates) most of the book's themes: the way different moments in Bolivian history come to define—even if paradoxically—the constitution of the Bolivian modern; the ambiguous role of the peasant in the country's different postcolonial narratives; and the way development engenders highly ambivalent responses from those it would putatively benefit, the states in which it is done, and critics whose job it is to locate it in relation to much longer processes of colonialism, neocolonialism, and the consolidation of a particular transnational mode of production. The chapter examines these connections and ramifications by focusing on one region of rural Bolivia. But the story of development, in Bolivia or elsewhere, is a quintessentially transnational one—a story of the circulation of values within one of the most emblematic of contemporary moral economies. The development in rural Bolivia unfolds through a process of discursive projection, through the imaginings of people who want to be anywhere else but here.
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