The Equivocal Politics of Carnival

The Forms and Discourses of Carnivalesque Theater in Contemporary Uruguay


  • Gustavo A. Remedi Universidad de la República, Uruguay



Carnival, theater, carnivalesque theater, politics, Uruguay


This article reflects on the political, social, and cultural institutionality of carnival in Uruguay and on its growing centrality as a means of expression and space of popular enunciation since the return to democracy in the 1980s. It also argues that the “field” of carnival is a site of constant negotiation with both the state and nongovernmental sources of power (economic groups, the media, churches, etc.) and can thus accommodate various political proposals, leading to constant symbolic-discursive reconfiguration. A detailed analysis of three carnivalesque performances belonging to the murga genre—La caldera de los diablos by Diablos Verdes (2003), Los Sueños by Agarrate Catalina (2005), and Creer o reventar by Don Timoteo (2014)—highlights how carnival has responded to, and has been reconfigured by, three recent circumstances: the apogee of neoliberalism and “the crisis of 2002,” the election of a “broad front” leftist government in 2005, and the end of this government’s second term in 2014.

Author Biography

Gustavo A. Remedi, Universidad de la República, Uruguay

Gustavo Remedi obtained his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Between 1994 and 2011, he was professor of Hispanic literature and culture at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Since 2012, he has been professor in the Literary Theory Department at the Institute of Literary Studies and in the Master’s Program in Theatre Studies at the University of the Republic in Montevideo, Uruguay. One of his research interests is the study of popular culture, Uruguayan popular theater, and carnival theater. On these topics, he has published Murga: El teatro de los tablados (Montevideo: Trilce, 1996), edited El teatro fuera de los teatros (Montevideo: FHCE-CSIC-Universidad de la República, 2015), and written a number of journal articles and book chapters. Presently, he is preparing a collection on contemporary Uruguayan carnivalesque theatricalities.




How to Cite

Remedi, Gustavo A. 2020. “The Equivocal Politics of Carnival: The Forms and Discourses of Carnivalesque Theater in Contemporary Uruguay”. Journal of Festive Studies 2 (1):236-64.