In 1935, after the death of dictator General Juan Vicente Gomez, Venezuela consolidated its position as the world's major oil exporter, establishing South America's longest-lasting democratic regime. Endowed with the power of state oil wealth, successive presidents appeared as transcendent figures who could magically transform Venezuela into a modern nation. During the 1974-78 oil boom, dazzling development projects promised to effect this transformation, yet now the state must struggle to appease its foreign creditors, counter a declining economy, and contain a discontented citizenry. In critical dialogue with contemporary social theory, this text examines key transformations in Venezuela's polity, culture and economy, recasting theories of development for other postcolonial nations.
List of Illustrations Preface Introduction: The Magical State and Occidentalism Pt. I: Premiere - The Nature of the Nation: State Fetishism and Nationalism 1: History's Nature 2: The Nation's Two Bodies Pt. II: Debut - Venezuelan Counterpoint: Dictatorship and Democracy 3: The Eighteenth Brumaire of Dictatorship 4: Constructing the Nation; The Nation as a Construct 5: The Twenty-third of January of Democracy Pt. III: Revival - The Petrostate and the Sowing of Oil 6: The Motors Wars: The Engines of Progress 7: Mirages of El Dorado: The Death of a Tractor Factory 8: The Devil's Excrement: Criminality and Sociality Pt. IV: Sequel - Black Gold: Money Fetishism and Modernity 9: Harvesting the Oil: The Storm of Progress 10: Beyond Occidentalism: A Subaltern Modernity References Index