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Naomi Klein's book-length essay The Shock Doctrine (2007) draws extensively from Latin American history, theorists and fiction writers. The article elucidates such borrowings in the context of the broader multimedia phenomenon to which the book has given rise, showing how several of its cognate cultural products share a tendency to ventriloquise Latin American interpretations of history in the name of solidarity. Two distinct sources inform Klein's argument: the motif of blood in Eduardo Galeano's The Open Veins of Latin America (1971) and the strategies of narrative estrangement in César Aira's novels. A sympathetic yet critical analysis of these influences calls to question the notion of shock itself, particularly its tactical and pedagogical oversimplification of the political history of the Southern Cone. While Klein seeks to move the centre of the political spectrum to the left, a radicalisation of her Latin American readings suggests the need to move the centre south.

Keywords: Avi Lewis; Chilean political economy; César Aira; Eduardo Galeano; Héctor Hoyos; Las venas abiertas de América Latina; Latin American politics; Naomi Klein; The Open Veins of Latin America; The Shock Doctrine; The Take; disaster capitalism; torture

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2012

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