Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1-2011


Scholars are divided over whether the emancipatory politics promised by new social movements can be attained within civil society or whether seizure of the state apparatus is necessary. The Bolivarian Revolution led by President Hugo Chávez presents a crucial case for examining this question. Chávez’s use of the state apparatus has been fundamental in broadening the concept of citizenship, but this extension of citizenship has occurred alongside the deliberate exclusion of others. This has not only limited its appeal as a citizenship project but created counterpublics that challenge the functioning of the government and its very legitimacy. Analysis of Bolivarianism in terms of micropublics shows both how otherwise disparate micropublics fuse together and why their union remains contingent and dependent on the figure of Chávez, its most significant producer.



Published Citation

Spanakos, A. P. (2011). Citizen Chávez: the state, social movements, and publics. Latin American Perspectives, 38(1), 14-27.