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Keywords:

  • nation-state formation;
  • revolution;
  • modernism;
  • socialism;
  • cooperatives;
  • model villages;
  • mystification

Drawing on the concept of “scenario,” I examine the ideological construction of an agricultural cooperative in a “model” village in revolutionary Nicaragua (1979–90). I argue that the state's modernist project of development placed the burden of cooperative members' transformation into model revolutionaries on individual will rather than on national and global political–economic relations. This resulted in Tuleños' inability to live up to Sandinista expectations and authorized the production of Sandinista and academic discourses that cast these producers as failed revolutionaries. These discourses helped constitute and naturalize the vanguardist relationship established by the state's modernist project between the state and the cooperative sector.