Entitled to contraband: citizenship and sovereignty in an indigenous borderland (Venezuela-Guyana)
|Dates:||16 October 2023|
|Times:||16:00 - 18:00|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Social Sciences|
Olivier Allard (EHESS): Entitled to contraband : citizenship and sovereignty in an indigenous borderland (Venezuela-Guyana).
Illicit trade became pervasive in Venezuela in the late 2010s, and essentially took two small-scale forms: the smuggling of fuel to neighbouring countries and the sale of subsidized food on the interior black market. Through ethnography conducted on both sides of the border between Venezuela and Guyana, I will investigate the meanings of such participation for indigenous people. I will especially argue that, for Venezuelan indigenous people of the area, it represents not merely a resistance against the state, but also of claim on state resources, and more precisely a way of obtaining the wealth promised to all Venezuelan citizens. There is no simple demarcation between state centers and margins, legality and illegality. On the other hand, Guyanese Amerindians also attempt to exercize a form of local control, almost sovereignty, on trade that crosses indigenous territory. The border between Venezuela and Guyana therefore creates a differential that indigenous people, among others, may strategically use, but also an asymmetry in the meaning of contraband on either side of the border.
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