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The following review appeared in the 2015 issue of CHOICE:

State theory and Andean politics: new approaches to the study of rule, ed. by Christopher Krupa and David Nugent. Pennsylvania, 2015. 328p bibl index afp ISBN 9780812246940 cloth, $69.95; ISBN 9780812291070 ebook, $69.95

Anthropologists Krupa and Nugent present a masterfully edited collection of essays on state formation in the Andes, building on a strong tradition established by Philip Corrigan and Derek Sayer’s study of English state formation in The Great Arch (1985), and a similar treatment for Mexico in Gilbert Joseph and Daniel Nugent’s edited collection Everyday Forms of State Formation (1994).  Krupa and Nugent expand on their concepts in ways that fundamentally challenge approaches that consider the state to be an objective, empirical fact.  The essays break from conventional ethnographic and historical methodology in favor of an approach that the editors characterize as “nonrealist.”  The essays cross the Andes and stretch from the expert treatments by Irene Silverblatt and Karen Spalding on the illusory nature of colonial royal authority in Peru, to editor Krupa’s stunning examination of the reversal of power roles between wealthy white landholders and Indigenous peoples in contemporary Ecuador.  The book closes with brilliant reappraisals by subaltern studies scholars Gyanendra Pandey and Akhil Gupta, which further extend the volume’s theoretic contributions.  This powerful collection will be required reading for a complex understanding of state formation. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above.

--M. Becker, Truman State University

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