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Volume 63 / Social Sciences

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS: ARGENTINA, PARAGUAY, AND URUGUAY


BRIAN TURNER, Professor and Chari, Department of Political Science, Randolph-Macon College

MUCH OF THE RECENT WRITING about the region discusses the Argentine socioeconomic crisis, experienced most profoundly in December 2001, and the subsequent and seemingly historic shifts in the political landscapes of Argentina and Uruguay.

Many authors blame the economic crisis that led to the unraveling of the Argentine state on the neoliberal political economy first imposed during the military regime of 1976–83 (items #bi2005002528#, #bi2005002513#, #bi2005002515#, and #bi2005002503#). For some, the interesting question is how the elites maintained presumably unpopular neoliberal policies in the context of formal democratic structures (item #bi2005002506#). For others, the question is whether democratic institutions can survive repeated political and economic crises (item #bi2006001395#; and from a comparative perspective, item #bi2007001294#).

The new forms of social protest attracted much attention. Road blockades (item #bi2005004429#) and factory seizures (item #bi2005004431#) suggest new forms of organization among the working poor and the unemployed; whether these forms of mobilization can be characterized as the kind of civil society that can articulate and support democratic political structures remains an unanswered question, although Dinerstein proposes that civil society has been altered (item #bi2005003023#).

The resurrection of electoral politics by the political class within months of the "kick them all out of office" mood of 2001 is effectively discussed in ¿Qué cambió en la política argentina? (item #bi2006001208#). The recovery of the political class and the continued viability of Peronism is discussed in items #bi2005002877#, #bi2005002419#, and #bi2005005043#.

Ollier discusses the coalition government elected in 1998 (item #bi2005002530#). Fraga, Burdman, and Ovalles insightfully explore the 2003 elections (item #bi2005002525#). Chavez effectively analyzes the factors that determine the nature of the judicial-executive relations at both the national and subnational levels (item #bi2006001038#).

Older themes still receive useful attention, including the Dirty War (item #bi2005002532#). The Menem presidency generated considerable scholarly analysis before 2001, but further analysis in light of the crisis of 2001 awaits research attention.

Several works explore the intersections between politics and media and intellectual life (items #bi2005002517#, #bi2006001216#, and #bi2005002529#). Paraguay, as is often the case, is somewhat out of step with its neighbors. Instead of bringing historic change, elections there returned the Partido Colorado to power. The work of journalist Roberto Paredes, much of it self-published, continues to fill many holes in the descriptive analysis of recent Paraguayan social movements and politics (items #bi2005005768#, #bi2007001402#, and #bi2005005769#). Fogel and Riquelme focus on a mostly ignored but fundamental process of change in the countryside (item #bi2007001298#). The prevalence of anthologies reflects the difficulties in the Paraguayan publishing industry. The best of these is Cultura política (see HLAS 61:2628).

Analyses of the electoral triumph of the Frente Amplio-Encuentro Progresista dominate the Uruguayan literature, most impressively in Moreira (item #bi2006001397#), but also in Yaffé (item #bi2005004609#). Given that the victory was expected well before the elections, a number of investigations discuss the result even before the fact (items #bi2006001203#, #bi2006001210#, #bi2005004609#, and #bi2006001202#). Much interest is shown in the biography of the new president, Tabaré Vázquez (items #bi2005002508# and #bi2005002500#), and that of Danilo Astori (item #bi2005002501#).

Decentralization and other constitutional reforms attracted the attention of political scientists writing on all three countries. Some of the best political science focused on case studies from Argentina and Uruguay. The quality of participation and service provision at the subnational level is explored in Clemente and Smulovitz (item #bi2005002507#), Remmer and Gélineau (item #bi2005003133#), González Villar (item #bi2006001400#), and Petracca et al. (item #bi2005002522#) for Argentina, and in Gallicchio and Pérez Antón (item #bi2005002505#) and Veneziano (item #bi2005002675#) for Uruguay. Eaton provides a useful comparative analysis of the variables that encourage decentralization policies (item #bi2006001039#).


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