Colla and camba are two racialized, regionally indexical, and contrasting stereotypic characterological figures of Bolivian national personhood. This paper examines the enregisterment of an other-centric rendition of the colla register through an analysis of stylized performances within a Bolivian (camba) comedy, NEO. Like other comedies drawing on national stereotypes, NEO promises to mock “all Bolivians,” yet their racialized ridicule is not without its asymmetries or consequences, particularly in the politically polarized and racially charged period following the election of Bolivia’s first indigenous president. These performances rely on presuppositions demonstrating the previous enregisterment of these categories while simultaneously advancing and contributing to this very process. An analysis of the linguistic and embodied semiotics of the colla register deployed in these performances is followed by a corpus analysis of the discourse these performances provoke among online viewers in order to understand some of the ways audience members recycle both colla and camba models of Bolivian personhood. This online circulation of discourse is understood as one phase in the ongoing enregisterment of the colla register. Within the discourse community of NEO fans, colla accrues a semantic prosody of abjection (“indios de mierda”) within a larger metapragmatic discourse in Bolivian society of indigenous pejoration.
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Karl F. Swinehart; The Enregisterment of Colla in a Bolivian (Camba) Comedy. Social Text 1 December 2012; 30 (4 (113)): 81–102. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01642472-1725802
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