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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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Statues and Statutes

Statues and Statutes

Chapter:
(p.123) Chapter 3 Statues and Statutes
Source:
Dancing Jacobins
Author(s):

Rafael Sánchez

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823263653.003.0005

Beginning with the first, this chapter analyses Venezuela’s Constitutions as governmental tools fashioned in response to the postcolonial crowds first unleashed by the colonial order’s breakdown. The sculptural bent of this constitutional tradition, for which the nation comes after the constitution which shapes it as a seamless whole, is not evidence of any misfit between “modern” texts and “traditional” contexts but answers the governmental need of arresting the crowds’ wild mimesis by moulding these thoroughly modern crowds into a ‘people-nation’ not rent by divisions and governable by the state. Such an understanding followed from a series of steps taken by the first Venezuelan congressmen under great pressure from the crowds which ended up rendering the sphere of political representation into a sealed domain incapable of articulating differences. For reasons argued in the chapter, the compulsion to eliminate the crowds’ dangerous “difference” ultimately involved, over and against the “federalism” of the majority of congressmen, suppressing any expression of difference in the sphere of representation. Such a process resulted not just in the reification of the constitution but also in the monumentalization of the nation’s representatives as the fetishized embodiments of unity only capable of expressing differences indirectly through their “dancing.”

Keywords:   constitutionalism, fetishization of unity, political representation, monumentalization

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