Susan Ellison

Jul 23, 2019

Domesticating Democracy

The Politics of Conflict Resolution in Bolivia

Duke University Press 2018

purchase at bookshop.org Susan Ellison’s Domesticating Democracy: The Politics of Conflict Resolution in Bolivia (Duke University Press, 2018) explores the world of foreign-funded alternate dispute resolution (ADR) organizations working in El Alto, Bolivia. Ellison’s engaging ethnography takes readers into the streets, homes, and workplaces of Alteños who use ADR to avoid state bureaucracies and juridical procedures as well as the conflictólogos who make a living practicing ADR. Ellison captures the nuances of both groups’ relationships to ADR while still noting the disciplinary effects of programs aimed to create stable market conditions. Domesticating Democracy suggests that ADR programs foster a kind of counterinsurgent citizenship, encouraging residents of Bolivia’s most famously rebellious city to be less contentious in their dispute resolution and to resolve conflicts at an interpersonal rather than systemic level. Domesticating Democracy earned an Honorable Mention for the 2018 Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing and won the Latin American Studies Association’s Bryce Wood Book Award for outstanding work in the humanities and social sciences. Ellison is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Wellesley College with extensive experience working in Bolivia.
Elena McGrath is a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Carleton College. She is a historian of race, revolution, and natural resources in the Andes.

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