NEOLIBERAL ARGENTINA'S MOBILIZATIONS
With the turn to neoliberalism in the 1990s, Argentina's civic, social, political, and economic organizations reacted to a new context that required them to reinvent themselves and be ready to negotiate in order to survive.
My first in depth research on this shifting times was on the way in which all the parties involved in the Automotive Industry strategically participated in the redesign of the sector and collectively reached a pact to smoothly move into a new era. My International Relations Licenciatura thesis, "Protectionism and Industrial Politics in 1990s' Argentina: The Political Economy of the Reconversion of the Automotive Industry" analyzed the intersectional negotiations uncovering how corporations, unions and the government managed to keep the industry protected despite macro policies of market liberalization.
Fascinated with the strength, perseverance and creativity of traditional unions, I took on the study of the new wave of social movements that emerged in Argentina in the the early 1990s and wrote my Latin American Studies M.A. Thesis "Piquetes, cacerolazos y asambleas vecinales : Social protests in Argentina, 1993-2002." I analyzed how a heterogeneous mass of unemployed and otherwise disadvantaged citizens created alternative means of dissent and organizations that displaced traditional institutions such as unions and political parties as the main channels of societal representation. The development of this wave of contention was related to the negative consequences of neoliberal reforms, embedded in a long-standing crisis of institutional legitimacy, and inspired by a rich legacy of social and political activism. The institutionalization of the movement contributed to its growth and longevity but lessened its radical character and its potential to become a competitive governing force. I expanded on my thesis to later on publish a journal article "Neoliberalism, Corruption and Legacies of Contention: Argentina's Social Movements, 1993-2006," reprinted in an edited volume on Latin American Social Movements in the 21st Century.