Las condenadas : an ethnography of sexuality and violence in Bolivia
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This is an ethnographic study of discourses and experiences concerning sexual exchanges among kin “who are too closely related to marry each other” (OED), or what in lay language is called “incest”. I investigate the ways in which a certain kind of incest, that between older men and younger women, primarily from different generations, is experienced by women of predominantly rural origin, who have been hospitalized in the major public psychiatric hospital in Bolivia, in Sucre. In this sense, this research is as much a study of incest as it is of psychiatric institutionalization. These experiences will be considered in the context of a wider field of ethnic, class and gender discourses that are produced by medical staff, community organizations, as well as national judicial institutions. The category of 'incest' is problematized in terms of how kinship is constructed, not only as a series of dynamic discourses (as practices whose effect is the production of events) but also as mobile experiences, however socially regulated. With this in mind, I present an account of Andean concepts and treatment of incest, as well as of legal and medical categories. Specifically, I focus on the play between discourses in the context of the psychiatric hospital, the judicial court and the communities of selected inmates. I show how the inmates’ experiences of intergenerational incest and sexual violence in general are related to the dominant ethnic, class and gender narratives produced by medical staff, community organizations, and judicial institutions.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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