Starting from Quirpini

Starting from Quirpini

The Travels and Places of a Bolivian People
Rockefeller, Stuart Alexander
Distribution: World
Publication date: 07/08/2010
Format: Paperback 14 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-22210-7
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The people of Quirpini, a rural community in the Bolivian Andes, are in constant motion. They visit each other's houses, work in their fields, go to nearby towns for school, market, or official transactions, and travel to Buenos Aires for wage labor. In this rich ethnography, Stuart Alexander Rockefeller describes how these places become intertwined via circuits constituted by the movement of people, goods, and information. Drawing on the work of Henri LeFebvre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Nancy Munn, Rockefeller argues that by their travels, Quirpinis play a role in shaping the places they move through. This compelling study makes important contributions to contemporary debates about spatiality, temporality, power, and culture.

Author Bio

Stuart Alexander Rockefeller is a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University.


A groundbreaking book [that] re-envisions place as formed by individual movements, trips and digressions as well as a situational context for action.It is very difficult to write ethnography about a small and unfamiliar place that is compelling to read, that flows from detail to detail, event to event, with the pleasurable sense of one's following along as a relaxed, but deeply curious, and somewhat surprised observer. [Stuart Rockefeller] succeeds in this. . . . [A] beautifully written ethnography. . . .an example of careful and evocative writing about what people do. It is a pleasure to read and a model of good writing as well as good anthropology.

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Table of Contents


Part 1. Inscriptions
Introduction: Disorientations
1. Places and History in and about Quirpini

Part 2. Facets of a Place
2. Bicycles and Houses
3. The Geography of Planting Corn
4. Carnival and the Spatial Practice of Community

Part 3. From Quirpini
5. Ethnic Politics and the Control of Movement
6. Placing Bolivia in Quirpini: Civic Ritual and the Power of Context
7. Where Do You Go When You Go to Buenos Aires?

Conclusion: Coming Back to Quirpini


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