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The Hidden Side of Narratives of Advocacy

Dollard, M. Mercedes (2022) The Hidden Side of Narratives of Advocacy. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Narratives written on behalf of exploited beings have existed in what today is Latin America since the beginning of the systemic exploitation of Amerindians. These “narratives of advocacy” have several characteristics in common: they are written by traditional intellectuals; they are read by members of the culturally dominant sector of society; they portray the exploited beings in a particular, empathy-inspiring way; they circulate with relative popularity at a particular time while the exploitation takes place; and they are regarded as influential in the passing of laws to end the exploitation that they denounce. In this dissertation, I analyze these characteristics in a series of texts that advocated for Amerindians in the sixteenth century and for Afrodescendants in the nineteenth century.

While narratives of advocacy are perceived by their readers as a valuable tool to make the capitalist system more just and humane, there is a hidden side to them that actually facilitates the injustice and inhumanity of the system: they appease the members of the culturally dominant sector of society, thus contributing to their disengagement from any exploitation that is not denounced by these narratives; and they reinforce among them the notion that “the exploited” is a subaltern Other who needs a hegemonic mediator to fight against exploitation, thus contributing to their not considering themselves as exploited beings. This hidden side of narratives of advocacy strengthens divisions within the working class, which ensures the availability of exploitable workers that our current mode of production demands.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Dollard, M. Mercedesmmd62@pitt.edummd620000-0002-4378-0559
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBranche, Jeromebranche@pitt.edubranche
Committee MemberBalderston, Danieldaniel.balderston@pitt.edudaniel.balderston
Committee MemberBeverley, Johnbrq@pitt.edubrq
Committee MemberPettersen, Davidpettersen@pitt.edupettersen
Date: 22 July 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 30 November 2021
Approval Date: 22 July 2022
Submission Date: 26 May 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 375
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Hispanic Languages and Literatures
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Amerindians, Afrodescendants, narratives of advocacy, capitalism, exploitation, working class, empathy, culturally dominant sector of society, social hegemony, civilized, uncivilized, traditional intellectuals, Gramsci, Althusser, Pedro de Córdoba, Bartolomé de Las Casas, Francisco de Vitoria, Vasco de Quiroga, Félix Tanco y Bosmeniel, Fermín del Toro y Blanco, Joaquim Manuel de Macedo, Julio Rosas,
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2022 14:31
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2022 14:31


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