Rowman and Littlefield International

Socio-Political Dynamics within the Crisis of the Left

Argentina and Brazil

Edited by Juan Pablo Ferrero, Ana Natalucci, and Luciana Tatagiba

4 Reviews

This collection 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.

Hardback ISBN: 9781786607843 Release date: Jun 2019
£92.00 €112.00 $120.00
Ebook ISBN: 9781786607850 Release date: Jun 2019
£24.95 €34.95 $39.99

Pages: 324


Has the left turn come to a definite end? What have been the legacies of the left turn and how can they be measured? Who are the 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? Does the development of a new socio-political dynamic in the region strengthen or undermine the struggles for equality, democracy and more cohesive societies?

This collection 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 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.

Part I: Context and Comparison

1. Changing Socio-Political Dynamics within the Crisis of the Left Turn in Argentina and Brazil, Juan Pablo Ferrero, Ana Natalucci and Luciana Tatagiba

2. Crossroads of Brazilian Democracy. Dynamics of Social Mobilization During Left Turn Circle, Luciana Tatagiba

3. Social Mobilisation and Politics in Argentina: Peak and Crisis of the Left Turn, Ana Natalucci

Part II: New Socio-Political Dynamics: Case Studies

4. Between Streets and the Facebook: Engaged Action in the Pro-Impeachment Campaign in Brazil (2014-2016), Débora Zanini & Luciana Tatagiba

5. Tracing the Left Turn Crisis through Argentine Protests: The Anti-Kirchnerist Cycle of Mobilisation (2012–2013), Tomás Gold

6. Labour Conflicts and Union Strategies in Dilma Roussef’s Governments, Andréia Galvão

7. “Worlds of Work” During Last Kirchnerism The Cases of the CGT and the CTEP (2011–2015), María Belén Morris

8. “Occupy and Resist”: The Autonomist Imaginary in the New Youth Activism in Brazil, Antonia Campos and Ana Cláudia Teixeira

9. The Revitalisation of Youth Engagement in Argentina's Left Turn, Lucía Carnelli and Josefina Furfaro

10. Recent Changes in the Brazilian Feminist Movement: The Emergence of New Collective Actors, Jonas Medeiros and Fabiola Fanti

11. What About Women During the Left Turn? The Case of #NiUnaMenos in Argentina, Julieta Rey

12. Final Remarks: Disputing Democracy Again, Juan Pablo Ferrero and Ana Natalucci

Juan Pablo Ferrero is Associate Professor of Latin American Studies in the Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies of the University of Bath, UK.

Luciana Tatagiba is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Campinas in São Paulo, Brazil.

Ana Natalucci is associate researcher in the Sociology and Demography Department at the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas of Argentina (CONICET).

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4 Reviews

This edited volume was written after the ouster of reformist, neodevelopmentalist governments in Brazil and Argentina and the reestablishment of conservative neoliberal regimes. By means of extensive in-depth interviews with a variety of sources, the authors examine the strengths and weaknesses of the social mobilization policies of Workers' Party (PT) presidents Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff in Brazil and Peronista presidents Nestor Kirchner and Cristina Kirchner in Argentina. After coming to power in 2003, the initial dynamism of these governments waned as they lost their innovation in countering mounting economic problems and charges of corruption, which eventually led to growing opposition and their respective downfalls more than a decade later. Initially, Lula’s policies significantly reduced Brazil’s poverty rate and income inequality, while the Kirchners reversed some of the privatization of state enterprises under the previous neoliberal government and reempowered organized labor. Partly mobilized by social media, however, a wave of anti-government sentiment later rose in response to the deterioration of living conditions during the international financial crisis and charges of corruption, weakening support for both governments and contributing to the impeachment of Rousseff in 2016 and the electoral defeat of Cristina Kirchner in 2015.

Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and faculty.


Combining an innovative theoretical approach and an impressive collection of empirical data from Brazil and Argentina, this book brings new light on the role of social mobilization during the left governments and in their fall. The crisis of the left struck hard on Latin America, but it has been a global tendency. Its understanding should concern everybody fearing the decline of democratic rule.

Evelina Dagnino, Full Professor of Political Science, University of Campinas, Brazil

What accounts for the apparently puzzling political U-turn in Latin America? It was not so long ago that analysts spoke of a hegemonic left and left-of-center project in the region, an alliance of government, allied social movements, and large numbers of beneficiaries of socially-inclusive policies, that seemed in many countries both successful and durable. Now, as the region seems to turn, country by country, towards conservative and revanchist politics, the analyses in this valuable book seem vital. Based on the two largest countries in Latin America, the book avoids easy answers or reliance on stylized categories. Rather, it wisely seeks answers to socio-political dynamics in the previous period, ones that developed and intensified over the course of the left turn. Drawing on careful research and sophisticated theoretical tools, this book is timely, incisive, and sobering. It is necessary reading for anyone interested in the region or on the possibilities of institutional left politics more broadly.

Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Professor of Individualized Studies and Sociology, New York University

This fascinating volume illuminates the “missing link” in the studies on the recent left turn in Latin America. Though the literature is abundant on state-centered perspectives on public policies, party systems and welfare expansion, the patterns of popular mobilization have been scarcely studied. This book is something we have long been waiting for: a rigorous and socially-grounded analysis of popular politics in two major countries of the region.

Sebastián Etchemendy, Associate Research Professor, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella

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