Offers an overview of the book’s postcolonial “monumental governmentality” formed vis-à-vis chronically unfranchised populations released by the breakdown of the Spanish colonial order. Prevalent in Venezuela and elsewhere in Latin America, this governmentality is a montage of ‘monuments’ and ‘dancing’ or of the ‘general’ and the ‘particular.’ In order to govern, the nation’s representatives or tribunes must monumentalize themselves on the stage of the polity as the reflection of the ‘general will’ that, putatively, everyone equally shares beneath the myriad inequalities, differences and antagonisms threatening to implode the polity; this tribunes’ monumentalization must, however, be supplemented by their ‘dancing,’ or their winks at the particular interests and desires of their volatile audience. An agonistic form of government, this governmentality cyclically fails; when this happens, with the ‘people’ once again becoming a ‘crowd,’ the figure of ‘Bolívar’ returns to re-totalize the polity in the pendulous alternation between the two poles—the “gallery of notables” and “Bolívar Superstar”—composing Venezuela’s ‘monumental governmentality.’ Special attention is given to the theatrical machinery that, much as infrastructural precondition, sustains this governmentality as the form of government that is consistent with erecting a representative democracy under thoroughly dislocated postcolonial conditions where audiences are never passive.
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