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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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Theater for the Masses

Theater for the Masses

(p.148) Chapter 4 Theater for the Masses
Dancing Jacobins

Rafael Sánchez

Fordham University Press

Chapter four takes off from the urgent attempt on the part of Venezuela’s Founding Fathers to erect a theatre of political representation during the brief interval known as the First Republic. After proposing a “theatrical paradigm” detailing the prerequisites that must be met for any representation to come about, this chapter accounts for the rapidity with which this political theatre collapsed in terms of its inability to meet one of these prerequisites: namely, the immobilization of the population as a largely passive audience whose members have been wrested from their mimetic wandering and forcibly made to focus on their representatives on the stage of the polity. Without such immobilization the nation’s representatives or tribunes are ultimately unable to re-present the ‘people.’ Once the writings of Venezuela’s Founding Fathers have been shown to presuppose an entire theatrical machinery as the infrastructure of the politics of exemplarity that, to this day, is characteristic of the nation’s republicanism, the chapter goes on to make clear that it is the mentioned inability to lastingly immobilize the masses that accounts not only for the failure of the First Republic, but, more generally, for the endemic instability and larger than life histrionic tendencies of Venezuela’s republicanism.

Keywords:   histrionism, immobilization, mimesis, mobility, representation, republicanism, theatre

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