Maneuvering for Paper: Physical and Social Experiences of Bureaucracy in Venezuelan Amazonia

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This article explores an apprenticeship in bureaucracy that the Venezuelan Sanema have experienced through their participation in the projects of the late Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution. The analysis focuses on the maneuverability that paperwork engenders, and thus contributes to an understanding of mobility and corporeal experiences of state apparatus in contemporary Amazonia. New patterns of movement—travel to and from cities, daily errands, and maneuvering within social spheres—must be understood with reference to the state and its bureaucratic pervasiveness, but also as congruous with customary practices of “journeying for knowledge,” which forge an intimate link between physical and social mobility. The new maneuverability that is both prompted and necessitated by the current political setting is equally as important as literacy in navigating bureaucratic structures and accessing state resources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-477
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
Issue number3
Early online date8 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Amazonia
  • bureaucracy
  • mobility
  • Venezuela


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