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versión On-line ISSN 1668-8090


HOOPS, Terry  y  ASHUR MAS, Diego. Reflections on studying "up": Power and narrative in an argentine Oligarchic family. Andes [online]. 2014, vol.25, n.1, pp.00-00. ISSN 1668-8090.

In 1972 the political anthropologist Laura Nader urged young anthropologists to veer their attention in their ethnographic investigations from the disempowered toward "those who are above," thus providing an ethnographic perspective on how dominant groups constitute themselves and on the means by which they exercise power in contemporary society.  Almost half a century after her manifesto, the scarcity of ethnographic studies of groups of power is remarkable.  This paper explores the causes underlying that persistent scarcity and, utilizing the case of a mid-20th century familial conflict within Salta´s oligarchy, provides a model for the ethnographic study of dominant groups acting within a local context, and explores the contradictions which emanate with the social constitution of that group.  The paper utilizes as its analytical starting point the relationship between agency and narrative in exercise of power within such dominant groups.  This paper attempts to provide an ethnographic examination of the nature of power en this particular historically constituted dominant group; as such it suggests that the exercise of power within groups such as this one depends, in part, on the ability to create coherent narratives which are able to assemble disparate elements which underlie the exercise of power.  The contradictory constituent elements of the bases of that power are framed by the narratives of the actors, which in turn are utilized to frame their action.

Palabras clave : Ethnography of power; Agency; Narrative and power; Oligarchy; Capitalist accumulation; Dynastic capitalism.

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