Since the 1980s Latin Americans have had acute difficulties placing their national societies in time—with various narratives competing among each other as available, but often unconvincing, framing devices. Progressive and developmentalist narratives generally lost traction, but emancipatory rhetoric, too, has tended to cede to sentimental gesture and gesticulation, even though it benefits from the backwind of the disasters that were wrought by the Washington consensus. Moreover, the aggressive neoliberal discourse of the 1980s and 1990s conjured up a revival of nineteenth-century political language, including, most prominently, a revival of nineteenth-century republicanism, with its characteristic obsession with corruption, love of country, and republican virtue, but also lesser—but nonetheless perfectly audible—revivals of revolutionary nationalism, anarchism, and various strands of national-popular discourse. In short, there has been a contested arena emerging around the location of Latin America in time—we do not currently know when we are. This essay explores the problem of dependency, neodependency, and chronotopes of development in contemporary Latin American historicities.

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