The Socio-Political Dynamics within the Crisis of the Left Turn: Argentina and Brazil

Juan Ferrero, Ana Natalucci, Luciana Tatagiba

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This book studies the gestation of the crisis of the left turn consensus dominant in Argentina and Brazil for the past 15 years and the emerging socio-political dynamics developing in this particular context of change. The book is the result of a collaborative research project in which both the book editors and contributors form part of the same research team. By studying the data collected for this specific research project, the objective of the book is to open questions which were not central to the ‘left turn debate’ as well as to introduce the new complexity shaping the socio-political field in these two countries. The volume identifies the traditional and emerging actors which have been influential in the socio-political arena for the past six to ten years. It also traces major episodes of protests between 2011-2015 in Brazil and Argentina. Unlike the cycle of protest of the 1990s in these countries, which common denominator was the anti-neoliberal nature, the new protest cycle that is the focus of this book presents a greater degree of complexity. In order to capture this new plurality of the social field, we introduce four organizing clusters: Cyberactivism & polarization, trade unions, youth and women. The manuscript examines the relations between social movements and the state that extends the usual analytical approaches in at least four orders: it includes right-wing as well as left-wing social movement organisations in the understanding that they do not constitute two separate phenomena but rather constitutive parts of a new developing socio-political complexity. Second, the volume works with the dilemmas and tensions between institutional and extra-institutional repertoires of collective action, that is, we do not operate in a dichotomous analytical framework that have characterised particularly populism studies. Third, the book incorporates the role of social media in the social protests and demonstrations which are reshaping the collective expressions of dissent of large sectors of the population. Four, the book articulates the way social movements and trade union operate in the development of new political dynamics. The book puts these four dimensions which, by and large, have moulded the processes of mobilisation and contestation, in relation to the actions and inactions of progressive governments of the left. The significance of the latter resides in the central positions governments of the left have occupied in the symbolic and material reality of social movement organisations that tended to generate varying degrees of support and rejection. The focus of the book is on social mobilization because it offers a privilege access to fluid dynamics of resistance and normalization in the context of changing political conditions and crisis of the political identities such as kirchnerismo in Argentina and lulismo in Brazil. In this sense, the research of changing ‘socio-political political dynamics’, as proposed in the title of the book, allow us to reflect about what is being prefigured in the current state of flux and, in turn, to hypothesize likely future political scenarios. In other words, has the left turn come to a definite end? What have been the legacies of the left turn and how can the be measured? Who are key actors shaping the new ‘anti-populist’ discourse and in what sense are they different from the social movements supporting progressive governments? How do these forms of identification relate to the dominant forms of subjectivisation in a globalized neoliberal world? What have been the impact of progressive governments on the levels of mobilization of popular and middle class sectors? Have kirchnerismo in Argentina and lulismo in Brazil caused the opposite effects with regards to the levels of social mobilization? Are social demands similar in both countries in the new social protest cycle? What have been the state responses to the new social mobilization cycle? Are there observable differences between the two countries and what does this tell us about the new regional political dynamics? Does the development of a new socio-political dynamic in the region strengthen or undermine the struggles for equality, democracy and more cohesive societies?
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRowman & Littlefield International Ltd
ISBN (Electronic)1786607859, 9781786607850
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2019


  • socio-political discourse
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Latin America
  • Left turn


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