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This chapter explores how subterranean matters influence contemporary political dynamics at the national level, a process that is traced through two arguments. First, an abstracted sense of the subterranean as national inheritance (patrimony) undergirds dynamics of political patronage and political violence, both of which are rooted in colonial histories of resource extraction. Second, the Plurinational State created a host of new pathways for previously sidelined people to take on leadership roles within or alongside state entities; when cooperative miners move into these positions, they bring with them subjectivities forged in relationship to subterranean histories. Geological matters, as historicized throughout this book, have thus left their mark not only on flesh and bone but also on the hallowed halls of political and economic decision-making. The subsoil is always already present in economic, political, and social forms.

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