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POOLE, Deborah. Taking risks: Norm, law and participation in the neoliberal state. Anthropologica [online]. 2012, vol.30, n.30, pp.83-100. ISSN 0254-9212.

This paper explores the shifting forms of authority and force assigned to law in neoliberalism, and its consequences for what «counts» as political life. I look first at how law is invoked historically in a recounting of two moments in the history of an important agrarian cooperative in Cusco; and then in more detail at the flexible and contested understandings of norm and risk that circulate in a district level participatory budgeting process. In these two examples-taken from periods bridging two distinct moments in the articulation of political life and state form in Peru-law emerges not as a transcendent force or expression of the State’s will, but rather as a space in which local actors experiment with diverse understandings of development and the common good. In this sense, then, I argue that «law» shapes local political life not merely through its ability to impose repressive sanctions and to mold political subjectivities, but also through the openings which law offers for advancing alternative understandings of both sovereignty and norm.

Palavras-chave : Law; state; participatory budgeting.

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