Globalization, governmentality and failure through the prism of Petén, Guatemala

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Posocco, Silvia (2008)
  • Publisher: London School of Economics
  • Subject: psysoc

In this paper, I consider the analytical purchase of a focus on ‘failure’ for\ud the analysis of globalising processes in Petén, Guatemala. I locate my\ud interest in ‘failure’ at the point of intersection between theoretical\ud reflection and ethnographic experience, and propose to frame my\ud interrogation of the nexus between globalisation and failure specifically\ud in terms of governmentality. The emphasis on governmentality unsettles\ud simplistic assumptions concerning the meanings of ‘globalisation’ to\ud suggest the importance of a link between globalising processes and\ud specific ‘projects of governance’. A consideration of the relation between\ud globalising processes, governmentality and failure through the ‘local\ud prism’ of Petén focuses the analysis on situated understandings of\ud contemporary processes of social transformation, a point which is\ud illustrated with reference to declarations of failure of the large\ud conservation project Maya Biosphere Reserve. In turn, failure through\ud this global/local prism brings into focus the knowledge practices,\ud analytical operations, scalar assumptions and imaginative figurations\ud inherent in thinking through global/local ‘contexts’. The paper concludes\ud that 'failure' constitutes a concept-metaphor linked to a plurality of\ud local/global interpretative strategies through which people make sense of\ud globalising processes and their histories. This suggests a broader point\ud concerning the role of concept-metaphors for ethnography.
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