Emotions and the Intergenerational Embodiment of Social Suffering in Rural Bolivia

Abstract

In this article, I take the embodied manifestations of distress across generations as the lens from which to illustrate the subtle articulations between the political restructuring of the Bolivian state and the private anxieties women experience under enduring political and economic instability. Emotions such as rage and sorrow generated by economic hardship, domestic violence, and social conflict played a fundamental role in how market- and working-class women perceived not only their own health problems but also many of the health problems that affected their infants. Mother’s bodies and emotions are seen as the vectors through which gestating babies and breastfeeding infants develop transient and enduring ailments and debility.