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Dancing Jacobins$
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Rafael Sánchez

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823263653

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823263653.001.0001

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(p.45) Chapter 1 Archaeologies
Dancing Jacobins

Rafael Sánchez

Fordham University Press

This chapter opens with a debate taking place in Caracas in 1865 concerning the remodelling of Plaza Bolívar, the capital city’s main public square, that raises some of the main questions that will be addressed in the rest of the book. At stake in the debate was how to best physically remodel the site so as to best bring its appearance in line with the imaginary of the republic. In what amounts to a form of genealogical investigation the chapter then backtracks to the Venezuelan colonial order as a foil against which, in subsequent chapters, Venezuela’s postcolonial ‘monumental governmentality’ may be apprehended in its intrinsic modernity. As the rest of the book clarifies, answering the questions raised at the beginning of this chapter is contingent on the ability to recognize, beyond all the continuities that may indeed be discerned between colonial and postcolonial orders, the radical modernity of the postcolonial condition. The contrast, along Lefortian lines, between the empty centre of democracy and the colonial order’s filled centre of power, occupied by the figure of the Spanish Monarch, is pivotal to this chapter.

Keywords:   colonial order, democracy/monarchy, federalism/centralism monuments, state centralization, urban form

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