Nicaraguan Sandinismo, back from the Dead?\ud An anthropological study of popular participation within the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Wilm, Johannes

Thirty years after redefining the political landscape of Nicaragua, Sandinismo is both a unifying discourse and one driven by different interpretations by adherents.\ud This thesis examines the complex legacy of Sandinismo by focusing on the still widely acclaimed notion of Sandinismo as an idiom of popular participation. A central point is the current unity of the movement, as it is perceived by Sandinistas, depends on a limited number of common reference points over the last 100 years of Nicaraguan history, which are interpreted very differently Sandinistas and other groups, but which always emphasise the part Nicaraguans play in international relations and the overall importance of popular mass participation in Nicaraguan politics, rather than agreement on current, day-to-day politics.\ud Through my analysis, this thesis questions the view often expressed in anthropological studies and the mainstream press on the development of the Sandinista movement since the 1980s as being one of decay. Based on 18 months of fieldwork in Nicaragua in 2008/09 among mainly urban Sandinistas and some non-Sandinistas in the cities on the Pacific coast, involving formal and informal interviews, the thesis concludes that Sandinismo continues to involve grassroot elements of popular participation and that Nicaragua interpretations of history across ideological groups have in common that the actions of individual Nicaraguans are seen as shaping historical changes, which in turn validates and lends importance to such grassroots elements.
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