Challenging Neoliberalism in Latin America

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At the turn of the twentieth century, a concatenation of diverse social movements arose unexpectedly in Latin America, culminating in massive anti–free market demonstrations. These events ushered in governments in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela that advocated socialization and planning, challenging the consensus over neoliberal hegemony and the weakness of movements to oppose it. Eduardo Silva offers the first comprehensive comparative account of these extraordinary events, arguing that the shift was influenced by favorable political associational space, a reformist orientation to demands, economic crisis, and mechanisms that facilitated horizontal linkages among a wide variety of social movement organizations. His analysis applies Karl Polanyi’s theory of the double movement of market society to these events, predicting the dawning of an era more supportive of government intervention in the economy and society.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Waves of social protest against market liberalization have radically transformed Latin America’s political landscape since the 1990s, but there has been considerable variation in the levels and patterns of popular mobilization across cases. Eduardo Silva explains why in this pathbreaking analysis of how diverse social actors mobilize and coordinate resistance to market society. Silva’s account makes a major contribution to the study of social movements in Latin America, and it sheds new light on the role of social actors in the demise of the ‘Washington consensus’ for neoliberal reform and the political shift to the Left that followed in its wake.”
– Kenneth M. Roberts, Robert S. Harrison Director, Institute for the Social Sciences, Cornell University

“Challenging Neoliberalism in Latin America is an essential book for analysts of social movements and Latin American politics, as well as anyone who cares about economic inequality, social justice, and citizenship in a globalized world. In it, Eduardo Silva makes a bold argument about the causes and significance of recent protests in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. Seeing these protests as part of a wave of anti-neoliberal collective action, Silva shows how the social movements behind them have transformed state-society relations in the region. Silva keeps big questions about popular contention and state formation firmly in view throughout the book. He combines research with insightful commentary on relevant theory in a text that is both original and accessible.”
– Anthony W. Pereira, Tulane University

"This incisive book is must reading for those interested in the political economy of reform in Latin America. Highly recommended."
-CHOICE, E. Pang, Colorado School of Mines

"Challenging Neoliberalism in Latin America is essential reading for anyone interested in market reform in Latin America, and will be the main reference point for scholars seeking to understand anti-neoliberal protests in the region."
– Raul L. Madrid, Journal of Latin American Studies

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Eduardo Silva is Professor of Political Science and a Fellow of the Center for International Studies at the University of Missouri - St. Louis. He is the author of The State and Capital in Chile and coeditor of Organized Business, Economic Change, and Democracy in Latin America and Elections and Democratization in Latin America, 1980–85. His articles have appeared in World Politics, Comparative Politics, Development and Change, Latin American Research Review, Journal of Latin American Studies, Latin American Politics and Society, and European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, among others.

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Table of Contents

1. The inconvenient fact of antineoliberal mobilization; 2. Contentious politics, contemporary market society, and power; 3. The argument: explaining episodes of antineoliberal contention in Latin America; 4. Argentina; 5. Bolivia; 6. Ecuador; 7. Venezuela; 8. Peru and Chile; Conclusion.

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