Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 June 2011
Latin American populism is generally associated with the developmental stage of import substitution industrialization; it is thus widely presumed to have been eclipsed by the debt crisis of the 1980s and the free market reforms of the neoliberal era. However, the leadership of Alberto Fujimori in Peru suggests that new forms of populism may be emerging despite the fiscal constraints of neoliberal austerity. This new variant of populism thrives in a context where economic crisis and social dislocation undermine traditional representative institutions, enabling personalist leaders to establish unmediated relationships with heterogeneous, atomized masses. Political support can be cultivated through populist attacks on entrenched political elites or institutions, along with targeted but highly visible poverty alleviation programs. This new form of populist autocracy complements the efforts of neoliberal technocrats to circumvent the representative institutions that are integral to democratic accountability. The Peruvian case thus demonstrates that populism has been transformed rather than eclipsed during the neoliberal era and that it should be decoupled theoretically from any particular phase or model of economic development.
1 See, for example, Bresser Pereira, Luiz Carlos, Maravall, Jose Maria, and Przeworski, Adam, Economic Reforms in New Democracies: A Social Democratic Approach (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 10Google Scholar; Dresser, Denise, Neopopulist Solutions to Neoliberal Problems: Mexico's National ity Program (San Diego: Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, 1991Google Scholar); Carmen Rosa Balbi, “Del Golpe de 5 de Abril al CCD: Los Problemas de la Transitión a la Democracia,” Pretextos 3-4 (December 1992), 53-55; Julian Castro Rea, Graciela Ducatenzeiler, and Philippe Faucher, “Back to Populism: Latin America's Alternative to Democracy,” in Ritter, Archibald R. M., Cameron, Maxwell A., and Pollock, David H., eds., Latin America to the Year 2000: Reactivating Growth, Improving Equity, Sustaining Democ racy (New York: Praeger, 1992), 145Google Scholar; and Kurt Weyland, “Neo-Populism and Neo-Liberalism in Latin America: Unexpected Affinities” (Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, New York, September 1-4,1994).
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4 Different conceptions of populism are discussed in Canovan, Margaret, Populism (New York: Har-court Brace Jovanovich, 1981Google Scholar).
5 Prominent examples include Germani, Gino, Politica y Sociedad en una Epoca de Transition: De la Sociedad Traditional a la Sociedad de Masas (Buenos Aires: Editorial Paidos, 1968Google Scholar); and Germani, Gino, di Telia, Torcuato S., and Ianni, Octavio, Populismo y Contradicciones de Clase en Latinoamerica (Mexico City: Ediciones Era, S.A., 1973Google Scholar).
6 The best representatives include Sachs, Jeffrey Y., Social Conflict and Populist Politics in Latin America (San Francisco: ICS Press, 1990Google Scholar); and Dornbusch, Rudiger and Edwards, Sebastian, “The Macroeconomics of Populism,” in Dornbusch, and Edwards, , eds., The Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991CrossRefGoogle Scholar). Limitations of the economistic interpretation are discussed in Cardoso, Eliana and Helwege, Ann, “Populism, Profligacy, and Redistribution,”Google Scholar in Dornbusch and Edwards.
7 The best representative of the ideological perspective Ernesto Laclau (fn. 2), chap. 4. See also Canovan (fn. 4), 294.
8 See, for example, the definition offered byJulio Coder, in Franco, Carlos, Coder, Julio, and Rochabrun, Guillermo, “Populismo y Modernidad,” Pretextos 2 (February 1991), 105Google Scholar. See also Castro Rea, Ducaten-zeiler, and Faucher (fn. 1), 126; and Mouzelis, Nicos, “On the Concept of Populism: Populist and Clien-telist Modes of Incorporation in Semi-Peripheral Polities,” Politics and Society 14, no. 3 (1985CrossRefGoogle Scholar).
9 The “structural approach” of Carlos M. Vilas is unusually explicit in this regard, as it interprets populism as a strategy for accumulation corresponding to “the first stage of the growth of national industry and the consolidation of the domestic market”; see Vilas, , “Latin American Populism: A Structural Approach,” Science and Society 56 (Winter 1992–93), 411Google Scholar.
10 Several of the most influential works on twentieth-century Latin American politics adopt variants of this interpretation; see Guillermo O'Donnell, Modernization and Bureaucratic-Authoritarianism (Berkeley: Institute of International Studies, 1973), chap. 2; and Henrique Cardoso, Fernando and Faletto, Enzo, Dependency and Development in Latin America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979Google Scholar), chaps. 5, 6. See also Conniff, Michael L., “Introduction: Toward a Comparative Definition of Populism,” in Conniff, , Latin American Populism in Comparative Perspective (Albuquerque: University New Mexico Press, 1982Google Scholar).
11 See, for example, Robert R. Kaufman and Barbara Stallings, “The Political Economy of Latin American Populism,” in Dornbusch and Edwards (fn. 6), 31–32; and the “Comment” by Paul Drake in the same volume, 40.
12 This holds true not only for liberal variants of populism in contemporary Latin America but also for rural manifestations of populism in Russia and the United States in the late nineteenth century.
13 The hypothesis linking populism to social inequality and distributive conflict is most fully elaborated by Sachs (fn. 6). A good discussion of class and sectoral distributive conflicts can also be found in Kaufman and Stallings (fn. 11), 19–22.
14 Warnings of excessive elasticity have also been made by Drake (fn. 11), 38; and Cardoso and Hel-wege (fn. 6).
15 See, for example, Carlos de la Torre, “The Ambiguous Meanings of Latin American Populisms,”
16 SocialResearch 59 (Summer 1992), 396–99; and Conniff (fn. 10), 21–22. Paul W. Drake acknowledges the importance of this element but warns that populism cannot be reduced to it; see Drake, “Conclusion: Requiem for Populism?” in Conniff (fn. 10), 220–23.
17 ” Germani (fn.5), 325–27, for example, argues that Peron's working-class support was based less on tangible material rewards than on perceived gains in personal power and citizenship rights.
18 The author is indebted to Philip Oxhorn for clarifying this point.
19 Kaufman and Stallings (fn. 11), 33. “SeeWeyland(fn. 1), 13.
21 Collier, David and Mahon, James E. Jr., “Conceptual ‘;Stretching’ Revisited: Adapting Categories in Comparative Analysis,” American Political Science Review 87 (December 1993), 846CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Their suggestion to treat problematic concepts as “radial categories” provides a potential escape from the conceptual I morass that plagues the study of populism, and it guides the reformulation that follows. A radial category is anchored in a prototypical case that incorporates a bundle of core elements or properties. Secondary categories (or subtypes) are variants of the prototypical case that share some (but not all) ofits defining attributes and have no necessary connection to one another. Radial categories have three principal methodological advantages in this context: (1) they allow aggregation of the distinct properties of multidimensional concepts; (2) they provide precise specification, while still allowing a concept to be extended across cases that approximate the prototype in varying degrees, and (3) they facilitate the identification of distinct subtypes within a particular category.
22 This aspect of populism is discussed in Canovan (fn. 4), chap. 7.
23 The classic critique of redistributive combines is de Soto, Hernando, The Other Path: The Invisiik Revolution in the Third World (New York: Harper and Row, 1989Google Scholar), chap. 6.
25 Olson, Mancur, The Logic of Collective Action (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971Google Scholar).
26 As of this writing (April 1995), President Alberto Fujimori has translated public approval ratings of over 60 percent into a landslide first-round reelection in his presidential contest with former United Nations Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar and twelve other candidates.
27 Drake (fn. 11), 36.
28 For an analysis of Fujimori's victory, see Degregori, Carlos Ivan and Grompone, Romeo, Elecciones 1990: Demeniosy Redentores en el Nuevo Peru (Lima: Institute de Estudios Peruanos, 1991Google Scholar). meteoricriseto prominence was not the first symptom of the crisis in Peru's system of partisan repreentation;itwas preceded in 1989 by the populist-style election of the independent television personality Ricardo Belmont as mayor of Lima.
29 The populism of APRA and Haya de la Torre is discussed in Stein, Steve, Populism in Peru: The Enurgence ofthe Masses and the Politics of Social Control (Madison: University of Wisconsin 1980Google Scholar).
30 The collapse of Garcia's heterodox program is analyzed in Pastor, Manuel Jr., and Wise, Carol, “Peruvian Economic Policy in the 1980's: From Orthodoxy to Heterodoxy and Back,” Latin American Wiotareh Review 27, no. 2 (1992Google Scholar).
31 Both APRA and the IU garnered substantial support from workers and the urban poor in the 1980s; see Cameron, Maxwell A., Democracy and Authoritarianism in Peru: Political Coalitions and Social Change (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994Google Scholar), chaps. 2, 3.
32 Barrantes, who had led polls of voter preferences in 1988 before the division of the IU, finished fifth in the first round of the election with a disastrous 4.8% of the vote. IU candidate Henry Pease received 8.2%, compared with 22.6% for APRA candidate Luis Alva Castro, 29.1% for Fujimori, and 32.7% for Vargas Llosa.
33 For a discussion of these orientations, see the spatial analysis of the Peruvian electorate in Cameron (fn. 31), chap. 6.
34 See Panfichi, Aldo, “The Authoritarian Alternative: Anti-Politics' among the Popular Sectors of Lima,” in Vilas, Carlos, Roberts-Hite, Katherine, and Segarra, Monique, eds., Rethinking Participation in Latin AmericaGoogle Scholar (forthcoming).
35 The advantages of being an outsider in a time of institutional crisis are perhaps best captured in an anecdote told by Guulermoprieto, Alma in The Heart That Bleeds: Latin America Now (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994), 81Google Scholar. A market vendor was approached by a prominent leftist leader who asked why she was displaying a poster of Fujimori during the presidential campaign. She responded that she supported him “because he hasn't done anything yet.”
36 The social bases of Fujimori's victory are dissected in Cameron (fn. 31), chap. 5.
37 Adrianzen, Alberto, “Dispersion Politica, Partidos y Rito Electoral,” Quehacer 91 (September-October 1994), 5Google Scholar.
38 The change in policy was encouraged by a trip that president-elect Fujimori made to the U.S. to meet with representatives of the IMF, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bant Following the resignation of the economists who advised Fujimori during his campaign, a new team-heavily influenced by neoliberal apostle Hernando de Soto-implemented the shock progam in early August 1990, shortly after Fujimori assumed the presidency.
39 Overviews of Fujimori's economic reforms can be found in de Olarte, Efrai'n Gonzales, “Peru's Economic Program under Fujimori,” Journal ofInteramerican Studies and World Affairs 35 (Summer 1993Google Scholar); and Wise, Carol, “The Politics of Peruvian Economic Reform: Overcoming the Legacies of State-Led Development,” Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 36 (Spring 1994CrossRefGoogle Scholar).
41 Data are taken from Denis Sulmont Samain, “Ajuste sin Reestructuracion,” Cuadernos Laborales 100 (May 1994), 8–12; and Eliana Chavez O'Brien, “El Mercado de Trabajo y las Nuevas Tendencias en la Estructura del Empleo en el Peni,” Socialismo y Participacidn 60 (December 1992), 20.
42 See Romero, Rafael, El Pragmatismo de Fujimori: Del Exceso Ideologico al Reahsmo Politico (Lima: Sediot SA., 1992Google Scholar).
43 Fujimori's attacks on the party system and the generalized crisis of political representation in Peru are analyzed in Adrianzen Merino, Alberto, “Democracia y Partidos en el Peru,” Pretextos 3–4 (December 1992), 7–19Google Scholar.
44 For an analysis of the “politics of antipolitics,” see Panfichi (fn. 34).
45 See Canovan (fn. 4), chap. 7.
46 Glasinovich, Walter Alarcon, “Clases Populares, Cultura Politica y Democracia,” Socialismoy Par ticipatión 54 (June 1991), 4Google Scholar.
47 Lavander, Sandro Macassi, “Cultura Politica de la Eficacia: Que Hay Tras la Discusión Dictadura-Orden Constitucional?” Socialismoy Participation 58 (June 1992), 70–71Google Scholar.
48 Apoyo S.A., Informe de Opinion (September 1992), 32. One study of the urban poor found that only 1.5% belonged to a political party, while 94% claimed that “the people have always been deceived by politicians”; see Parodi, Jorge and Twanama, Walter, “Los Pobladores, la Ciudad y la Politica: Un Esrudio de Actirudes,” in Parodi, , ed., Los Pobres, La Ciudady la Politica (Lima: Centro de Estudios Democracia y Sociedad, 1993), 68–70Google Scholar.
49 Fujimori's public approval rating jumped from 59% of the population to 82% during the week of his autogolpe, see Apoyo S.A. (fn. 48), 8. For an analysis of this support, see Balbi (fn. 1). An excellent account of the changes in the Peruvian state associated with the autogolpe is provided in Mauceri, Philip, “State Reform, Coalitions, and the Neoliberal Autogolpe in Peru,” Latin American Research Review 30, no. 1 (1995Google Scholar).
51 Sulmont Samain (fn. 41), 11.
52 In particular, unions staunchly defended legal rights to employment security in response to widespread layoffs and government efforts to make the labor market more “flexible.” Such concerns were of limited interest to the more numerous informal and temporary contract workers.
53 The impact of neoliberal reforms on the labor movement is analyzed in Rosa Balbi, Carmen, “Mis-eriadel Sindicalismo,” Debate 15 (November 1992-January 1993), 38Google Scholar.
54 Franco, Carlos, Imageries de la Sociedad Peruana: La Otra Modernidad (Lima: Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo y la Participacion, 1991Google Scholar).
55 See also Parodi and Twanama (fn. 48). ss See Cameron (fn. 31), chap. 6.
56 The support of informal sectors for Fujimori is analyzed in Balbi, Carmen Rosa, “Modernidad y Progreso en el Mundo Informal,” Pretextos 2 (February 1991Google Scholar).
57 Coder, Julio, Descomposicion Politka y Autoritarismo en el Peru (Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 1993), 27Google Scholar.
58 Maxwell A. Cameron, “Political Parties and the Informal Sector in Peru” (Paper presented at the Eighteenth Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, Atlanta, March 10–12,1994), 23.
59 Semana Economica, March 20, and April 24,1994, p. 6.
60 O'Donnell (fn. 24).
61 Bresser Pereira, Maravall, and Przeworski (fn. 1), 10.
62 For example, budget cuts forced the central government to reduce its administrative staff and workforce from 633,000 in 1990 to only 338,000 in 1993-an extraordinary 47% cut in only three years. See “VIII Foro Economico: Pobreza, Politica Economica y Politica Social,” Actualidad Economica 16 (June 1994), 31Google Scholar. As Carol Graham points out, Fujimori inherited a state whose tax receipts had fallen from 15% to 3% of the GDP under Garcia; see Graham, , Safety Nets, Politics, and the Poor: tions to Market Economies (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1994), 93Google Scholar. Nevertheless, Graham argues that given the availability of external resources, Fujimori's minimal effort to construct a social safety net to cushion the impact of market reforms was attributable more to a lack of political will than tofiscalconstraints.
63 Salcedo, Jose Maria, “Si Hay Alternativas,” Quehacer 85 (September-October 1993), 18Google Scholar.
64 In 1994 the budget of FONCODES called for an expenditure of $170 million, but it only spent $45 million over the first half of the year; see Caretas, July 27, 1994, p. 22.
65 See the interview with Arturo Woodman, former executive director of FONCODES, in El Comercio, November 14,1993, p. A4.
66 Caretas, November 25,1993, p. 22. Regular visits to urban shantytowns began in earnest after the 1992 autogolpe; following the poor showing for Fujimori's constitution in the 1993 referendum, when it failed to get 50% of the vote outside of Lima, presidential visits to the provinces to inaugurate public works and deliver supplies increased as well, to an average of more than one per week. See “El No Candidate” QuehacerSS (March-April 1994).
67 Latin America Weekly Report, June 2, 1994, p. 237.
68 See “El Camino a la Reeleccion Pasa por el Millon de Empleos,” Actualidad Economka 152 (March 1994), 6–7.
69 La Reptiblica, June 29,1994, p. 6.
70 “La Buena Estrella del Presidente Fujimori,” Argumentos 2 (April 1994), 7.
71 According to one estimate, government social spending declined from 4.7% of GDP in 1980 to 0.9% in 1993; see Latin America Weekly Report, June 9,1994, p. 244.
72 Felix Jimenez estimates that the budget of FONCODES is approximately one-tenth what would be required to attend to the basic needs of Peruvians living below the poverty line; see Jimenez, “Estrate-gias de Desarrollo y Politica Social,” Socialismoy Participacion 67 (September 1994), 22.
73 See, for example, Restimen Semanal, March 29-April 5, 1994, p. 2. Graham (fn. 62), chap. 4, has argued that even the minimalist social programs of Fujimori's first two years were riddled with political manipulation; the electoral motivations and economic resources at stake more recently make such manipulation even more tempting.
74 A watered-down version of this legislation was passed by the pro-Fujimori majority in Congress as the 1995 presidential race formally began. The final bill allowed Fujimori to inaugurate public works in “noncampaign” settings, where he did not advocate his reelection or criticize electoral opponents.
75 Caretas, February 3,1994, p. 25.
76 Interview by the author with Mariano Castro, FONCODES manager of programs and projects, Lima, June 30,1994.
77 The municipal reform is analyzed in Silva, Angel Delgado, “Autocracia y Regimen Local,” Socialismo y Participacion 65 (March 1994Google Scholar). This decree not only weakened municipal governments as a counterweight to executive authority, but also undermined the political position of Mayor RicardoBel-mont of Lima, one of Fujimori's major competitors for the presidency in 1995. By the end of 1994 the Lima municipality was essentially bankrupt, public services and employee salaries had been interrupted, and Belmont was floundering politically.
78 Resiimen Semanal, December 21–27,1993,' pp. 2–3.
79 Geddes, Barbara, Politicians's Dilemma: Building State Capacity in Latin America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994Google Scholar), chap. 6.
80 See David Collier's analysis of Odria's paternalistic relationship to shantytown settlements; Collier, , Squatters and Oligarchs: Authoritarian Rule and Policy Change in Peru (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976Google Scholar), chap. 4. Fujimori also resembles Odria in his efforts to transform the unorganized poor into a bastion of personalist support, as Odria had to bypass the organized social and political constituencies of APRA.
81 In the second round of the 1990 election, Fujimori won over 62% of the vote in the poorest districts of Lima, compared with only 24.6% in the wealthiest districts. In the 1993 referendum, over 64% in the wealthiest districts voted for the new constitution, compared with 56% in the poorest districts; see Caretas, November 18,1994, p. 24B. Fujimori's constitution fared even worse outside of Lima, losing in fifteen of Peru's twenty-two departments. The two elections are not directly comparable, however, since the 1990figureswere affected by the presence of an alternative candidate who was attractive to elite sectors. Nevertheless, the 1993 results are revealing, and the narrowness of Fujimori's referendum victory gave added political impetus for increased social spending in 1994.
82 Imasen Confidential, June 1994, p. 12.
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87 For an elaboration, see Dresser (fn. 1).
88 Cornelius, Wayne A., Craig, Ann L., and Fox, Jonathan, “Mexico's National Solidarity Program: An Overview,”Google Scholar in Cornelius, Craig, and Fox (fn. 85), 14.
89 See Juan Molinar Horcasitas and Jeffrey A. Weldon, “Electoral Determinants and Consequences of National Solidarity,” in Cornelius, Craig, and Fox (fn. 85).
90 See Kathleen Bruhn, “Taking on Goliath: The Emergence of a New Cardenista Party and the Struggle for Democracy in Mexico” (Ph.D. diss., Stanford University, 1993), chaps. 6, 7.
92 Graham (fn. 62), chap. 3.
93 Latin American Weekly Report, June 16,1994, p. 262, and December 8,1994, p. 557.
94 Sarah Kelsey and Steve Levitsky, “Captivating Alliances: Unions, Labor-backed Parties, and the Politics of Economic Liberalization in Argentina and Mexico” (Paper presented at the Eighteenth International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, Atlanta, March 10–12,1994).
95 Aldo C. Vacs, “Attending Marvels: The Unanticipated Merger of Liberal Democracy, Neo-Liberalism, and Neo-Populism in Argentina” (Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, New York, September 1–4,1994).
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98 There is no assumption here that this correlation is perfect; Chile has experienced neoliberalism under both authoritarian and democratic rulers without significant manifestations of populism, while Venezuela under Rafael Caldera demonstrates to date that personalist leadership and political deinsti-tutionalization do not inevitably strengthen neoliberalism. Nevertheless, the theoretical and empirical linkages between populism and neoliberalism are compelling and suggest a form of association that goes well beyond political coincidence.
99 These factors are also stressed by Castro Rea, Ducatenzeiler, and Faucher (fn. 1).
100 An excellent synthesis of the relationship between social fragmentation and personalist authority can be found in Eugenio Tironi, “Para Una Sociologia de la Decadencia: El Concepto de Disolucion Social,” Proposiciones 6 (October-December 1986), 12–16.
101 Drake (fn.15).
102 Methodologists may note that these liberal and statist forms of populism correspond to what Collier and Mahon (fn. 21) call “classical” categories, rather than subtypes of a radial category. That is, since both of these forms are capable of manifesting all the core properties of populism outlined above, the attachment of a descriptive adjective signifies the addition, not subtraction, of defining attributes-in this case, alternative expressions of populist economic policies.
103 See Verdera V., Francisco, “La Preoccupation por el Empleo,” Debate 16 (July-August 1994), 43–44Google Scholar.