Tag Archives: Argentina

The Politics of Demobilization: A Review of Soybeans and Power

By Federico M. Rossi

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Lapegna, Pablo (2016), Soybeans and Power: Genetically Modified Crops, Environmental Politics, and Social Movements in Argentina (New York: Oxford University Press).

Soybeans and Power by Pablo Lapegna takes the case of a rural community in Formosa (a northern province of Argentina that borders on Paraguay) to explore a crucial question for social movement studies: how to explain the demobilization of a social movement. A poor community of peasants experiencing local-level impacts of the global process of adoption of genetically modified crops (GMCs) and agrochemicals reacts differently in two instances. In the first instance, in the face of health and economic consequences associated with GMCs cultivation, it responds by mobilizing. In another instance, it reacts to the same consequences differently—by actively demobilizing. These seemingly contradictory strategies leads the author to propose an answer to the crucial question of why people sometimes choose to mobilize and sometimes to demobilize on the same issues and with similar grievances. According to Lapegna, cooptation and clientelism are insufficient explanations, and in this case there is no repression. Therefore, he proposes viewing demobilization as an agency-based process (p. 14, 16) that requires an ethnographic approach in order to appreciate the multiple layers at play in these sorts of dynamics, without overemphasizing the role of the elites while grasping the actors’ understandings of the dynamics at hand. Continue reading

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Political Participation and Working Class Routines in the Piquetero Movement

Starting in the 1980s, Latin America has experienced an unprecedented wave of democratization. A region with a long history of military dictatorships, human rights violations, and fraudulent elections managed to sustain governments elected by citizens and high levels of political and civil freedoms. Latin American countries continue to struggle with high levels of poverty and inequality, and their governments are not immune to authoritarian attempts. Yet the overall predominance of democracy in this region is a remarkable achievement given its past. Continue reading

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Studying Social Movements in the South

I am very grateful for this invitation to present my research in Mobilizing Ideas. As a young scholar, I have been studying social movements, trade unions and other forms of political participation using a variety of methods depending on the research question I needed to answer. Ethnography, life stories and process tracing are the ones I used the most. In this short text, I will focus on the following topics of my scholarly production: 1. Public deliberation and urban movements; 2. The youth condition and political participation; 3. The role of social movements, trade unions and protest on democratization; 4. The struggle of the poor for their socio-political reincorporation; and 5. The multiple scales in the resistance to the globalization of neoliberalism. My aim is to very briefly introduce the core questions and answers I have researched.

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Filed under Emerging Stars in Social Movement Research, Essay Dialogues