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Müller, Juliane (2020): Webs of fiesta-related trade: Chinese imports, investment and reciprocity in La Paz, Bolivia. In: Critique of Anthropology, Vol. 40, No. 2, 0308275X20908297: pp. 238-263
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Abstract

The public display and lavish spending of wealth for other-than-economic ends has been a topic of vital importance in anthropology and sociology. Studies on the expansion of markets and transnational mobility in Latin American rely on the persistent idea that new economic riches are turned into recognition, prestige and power through feast sponsorship in home communities. In this article, I demonstrate that among Bolivian traders who regularly source in Chile and China, stewardship of a dance group for a patronal fiesta in La Paz has ceased to be a sponsorship and become an investment. Traders have integrated the advance of fiesta-related money into their loops of capital, but they also depend on social ties and reciprocal obligations to make a profit. A translocal perspective is deployed in order to understand the entanglement of trading and feasting: traders' experiences with the global economy and the persistence of fiesta-specific forms of mutuality as well as the principle of rotation of the stewardship. I argue that as webs of fiesta-related trades and services change year after year, business opportunities are temporarily distributed.