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Challenging Neoliberalism in Latin America
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Book description

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.


'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

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