Little Sovereignty. Personal forms of rule in everyday life and their representation in the 20th and 21st century Hispanic American novel.

What is the idea behind the project?

As can be observed time and again, in times of crisis, political or economic efforts flourish that undermine or even permanently endanger the power structures of states. This can be observed, for example, in the success of populist parties in the context of modern electoral democracies. But the extent to which economic globalization is pushing back the influence of state authorities has also been under discussion for some time.

Why Latin America?

Looking at Latin America, such trends can be observed as if through a burning glass: This region of the world has some of the highest rates of social inequality. Political and social crises (social emergencies, protests, crime) are the order of the day. At the same time, Latin American countries are the focus of international economic interests due to their wealth of raw materials, which, however, are rarely used by these countries themselves for the prosperity of their own societies for various reasons. In the context of climate crisis, massively rising costs of living and new authoritarianism, the above-mentioned tendencies in Latin America will also be closely observed in Europe.

What does 'small sovereignty' mean and why is narrative literature of interest in this context?

In this project, Hispanic-American narrative literature will be used to show that, in a context of social hardship, inequality, and weak political institutions, small sovereignty is part of the everyday social view. By 'small sovereignty' is meant everyday rulers:inside, who in their initially manageable spheres of activity push back the influence of state power and authority. As an archive of social experience, novel literature is a suitable medium for condensing such processes into characters, narratives, and perspectives.

What have we set out to do?

In the course of research and reading, configurations of everyday domination are made visible and analytically described. This is done in relation to two genres: office literature (a), and literature about drug-related crime (b). In this way, an extensive corpus of relevant texts as well as a collection of examples emerge from which patterns of political traditions present in that region of the world can be indicated, which, however, are of equally high relevance for other global contexts.