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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Many Latin American theorists have addressed how and why to understand and engage with political thought produced in a different geographical and historical context and how to engage with abstract theoretical principles while also situating those principles within specific contexts. This chapter treats three particularly illustrative examples: Bartolomé de Las Casas, Simón Bolívar, and José Carlos Mariátegui. Writing in different periods and settings, and with distinct concerns, they vary in their degree of self-consciousness about and engagement with European political thought, yet all three engage with “Western” political thought strategically, selectively, and self-consciously to address localized problems and produce localized political results. Doing so showed the limits of the same European universalizing theories with which they engaged. All three thinkers illustrate the importance of situating political thought and of understanding how ideas settle in different contexts and can be put to different uses.

Keywords: Latin America, situated political thought, Bolívar, Las Casas, Mariátegui

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