Experiencing revolution in Nicaragua: Gendered politics in the negotiations between Nixtayolero Theater Collective and the Sandinista state
AuthorCalla Ortega, Pamela, 1957-
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation examines the meanings, mechanisms and logic of gendered political negotiations between Nixtayolero theater Collective and the Sandinista state in Nicaragua between 1979-90. I explore the drafting of the cultural policy of the FSLN as a party in government and the way Nixtayolero members worked that policy through over time; i.e., the way they envisioned the state/revolution and constructed their own identities in relation to and against it. For this I focus on the inter-connectedness of dominant tropes in Nicaraguan leftist political culture: the popular, vanguardism and production. I analyze this inter-connectedness asking how and why, under the pressure of U. S. sponsored aggression, the construction of the external enemy involved the creation of the enemy within in the process of building national unity. Focusing on the inter-connectedness of these three tropes also guided my examination of the contradictions and conflicts of authority within the group itself. Out of these contradictions and conflicts concerning authority came emergent cultures; i.e., local-specific counter-narratives and cultural praxes that defied the official "popular culture" of the state. In my analysis, the gendering effects of power techniques such as pastoral power became central. This notion allowed me to look at the gendered premises of Sandinista state formation (production associated with work outside the home as reason, patriarchal respect mores and honor-shame codes in the construction of masculinity) as generative logics affecting people's experience of revolution. Using this notion of power I was able to dispel the privileged knowledge position of the leaders of the party in government. As the state was forced to militarize there was a shift in notions of leadership related to production (increase in production for the war effort) and the popular. This shift involved going from communion with the people, consciousness raising and democratization of culture, towards a policy of professionalism and exclusive vanguard representation based on power as knowledge. This privileged knowledge position allowed guidance of consciousness and affirmed modernization. My thesis thus explores (a) the masculinization of nationalism and of revolutionary authority accompanied by (b) a simultaneous process of marginalization of difference and feminization of marginality, and (c) the eventual and also simultaneous subversion and reproduction of this gender order by Nixtayolero members in the latter half of Sandinista rule. Waging war against the external enemy thus became a matter of masculine honor, strength and virility. Internal ideological differences and conflict, on the other hand, involved feminization of the enemy within.
Degree ProgramGraduate College