Social mobilization and political change in countries governed by the left: The cases of Argentina and Brazil

Ana Natalucci, Juan Pablo Ferrero

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This paper analyses the socio-political dynamics after the financial crash in two countries governed by the left, Argentina and Brazil. Whilst the economic crisis had an effect on the general distributive capacity of leftwing coalitions, it remains unclear why the political resolution of such a crisis adopted anti-regime features in Brazil and the form of an institutional alternation of power in Argentina. Our aim is to understand the new socio-political dynamics and their implications in the crisis of the left turn, especially the relationship between social mobilization and political change in the context of Argentina and Brazil. In doing so, the paper contributes to the growing body of literature interested in the intersections between social movements and the state. Based on the analysis of original qualitative and quantitative data on social protests events in both countries 2011–2015, the paper suggests that the complexity of changes in the socio-political dynamics can be captured by looking at three dimensions of the problem: grammar of mobilization, social imaginaries, and political representation. The main argument is that the different types of left turn strategy developed in both countries affected in turn the responses to the economic crisis and the new cycle of mobilization. The kirchnerist's movimentista strategy in Argentina contrasted with the demobilizing strategy of the PT in Brazil. Whilst the former contributed to channel the high and polarized levels of activism within the polity, the latter resulted in the crisis of the long cycle of political representation opened with the transition to democracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1479-1496
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Issue number5
Early online date16 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021


  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Mobilization
  • Left turn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Sociology and Political Science


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