Sandinista Narratives is an analysis of the role of agency in the Nicaraguan Revolution and its aftermath. Jean-Pierre Reed argues that the insurrection in Nicaragua was shaped by political contingency, action-specific subjectivity, and popular culture. He also examines how Sandinista ideology contributed to state-building in Nicaragua while tracing the role of post-revolutionary Sandinismo as a political identity.
Jean-Pierre Reed is associate professor of sociology, Africana studies, and philosophy at Southern Illinois University.
Chapter One: Culture, Ideology, and Emotions in the Study of Insurgent and Revolutionary Agency
Chapter Two: The Role of Religion in the War of Liberation: Christian Insurgents Fighting for Justice
Chapter Three: Sandinismo: A Nationalist Idiom and Ideology in the War of Liberation
Chapter Four: Emotional Events and the Unfolding of Insurrection
Chapter Five: Rebuilding the Nation and Life-Politics during Sandinista Rule
Chapter Six: Sandinista Identity in the Post-Revolution Period
A Brief Conclusion: On Studying Revolutionary Identity and Findings
Enrique Oltuski, chronicler of and participant in the Cuban revolution once rightly said, "No book can ever convey the greatness of a people in revolt." Jean-Pierre Reed’s magisterial life work, Sandinista Narratives:Religion, Sandinismo, and Emotions in the Making of the Nicaraguan Insurrection and Revolution, is destined to be the book against which that claim is measured.
Sandinista Narratives is one of the most interesting and sophisticated analyses of the “subjective” side of revolution which I have read. Jean-Pierre Reed emphasizes the importance of emotions—especially outrage and hope—as well as popular cultural idioms, ideology, and collective identity in Nicaragua’s revolutionary process. He makes his case by focusing closely on the personal testimonies of a great many ordinary Nicaraguans as well as activists. This book should interest anyone who wants to understand the role of culture, broadly understood, in the Nicaraguan Revolution and in politics more generally.
Reed’s clear and compelling text is perhaps our most powerful statement yet on the study of revolution and insurgency that assumes people—their ideologies, their emotions, their cultures, and hence the societies they create—really mattered. Deftly interpolating the people of Nicaragua, cultural theorists, students of revolution, and an impressive range of social science and humanistic scholars, Reed finds a narrative that reminds us that in Nicaragua and elsewhere, people, if not always under the conditions of their own choosing, boldly and bravely make their own history.