Monday, 21 September 2015

Raquel Gutiérrez Aguilar on 'The community reproduction of life: Thinking of social trans-formation in the present'

Seminar Hosted by the Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University

Speaker: Raquel Gutiérrez Aguilar

Title: The community reproduction of life: Thinking of social trans-formation in the present (co-authored with Huáscar Salazar Lohman)

Date: Wednesday 23 September 2015

Time: 3:00 – 4:30

We approach with a critical eye the question “Is social transformation possible?” and maintain that the starting point for an answer lies in the set of specific collective and/or community activities that aim at guaranteeing the material and symbolic reproduction of social life. We argue that transformation does not, only nor mainly, have to do with sketching out an abstract future horizon; it is rather about a systematic flow of actions of resistance and struggle in the present, which defends and expands the specific possibilities for the reproduction of life as a whole, be it human or non-human. This is the starting point for our analysis of the tensions and contradictions that exist between said possibilities for the reproduction of life and the structuring logic of capital in its continuous cycles of accumulation. From this standpoint, we look into the popular-communitarian aspects of certain theoretical difficulties that emerged during recent struggles in Latin America. More specifically, the obstacles for the social deployment of concrete labour beyond the mediation of value and in the polymorphic forms of collective political decision-making.

Raquel Gutiérrez Aguilar is professor of sociology at the Autonomous University of Puebla. In 1992 she was accused, together with Alvaro Garcia, her then husband and now vice-president of Bolivia, of being a member of the Tupac Katari guerrilla army, and was imprisoned. The charges were later dropped. After being released she was active in the war of water in Cochabamba in 2000, which started the cycle of struggles leading to the change of government in 2005. She is the author of the acclaimed new book Rhythms of the Pachakuti: Indigenous Uprising and State Power in Bolivia.
She is currently a visiting professor in Sociology at Rhodes University.

For more information on Rhythms of the Pachakuti visit: