Abstract

ABSTRACT:

How does political time inflect legal titles to property no less than the possibilities of their falsification? In this article, I consider historical entanglements of rural land tenure in a coca-growing area of central Peru during the twilight years of the Shining Path insurgency. Where regionally the Maoist movement's claim to Revolution had long ceased to be plausible and its own disappearance loomed, I share an episode in which Shining Path surreptitiously manipulated the Peruvian state's administrative power so that parcels seized from a local farmer would be registered as the future legal property of its members and sympathizers. My reflections on this event unfold as a discussion of falsification and its camouflaging effects, through which I ask how shifts in political time at once animate and selectively obscure the multiplicity of social relations that bind people to material things. The bestowal of legal title itself arguably participates in obscuring the plurality of those relations—through an oblivion engendered when legal rights of other, competing, claimants are disregarded. If so, the traces of a former order of insurgent land tenure, persisting into the times of post-conflict, surely complicate such oblivion-effects. Here, the notion of that insurgent order, lingering as it were into the aftermath, serves a heuristic purpose: it draws ethnographic attention to the afterlives of defeated land claims and to the life plans those claims once conveyed.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1518
Print ISSN
0003-5491
Pages
pp. 637-673
Launched on MUSE
2017-09-26
Open Access
No
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