1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Social Dimensions of Sustainable Development

The Hidden Side of SSE: Social Movements and the “Translation” of SSE into Policy (Latin America) (Draft)


This paper examines the political process of how social movements have led the appropriation and translation of SSE practices into policy in Latin America. Using examples from prominent indigenous, rural and urban movements, the paper illustrates the conflicts and contradictions that this translation produces, which circumscribes SSE to its role in articulating better forms of development, thus undermining the emancipatory potential of SSE as a development alternative. This is leading to a persistent breach between the new realities and agendas imagined by social movements (what the author calls the “Beyond Zone”), and the ways SSE–inspired policy is organized. The author argues that it is only by engaging with the former that the latter can be enriched substantively. SSE–inspired policy can become a prefigurative programme that learns from the movements’ practices. This might be a tool to facilitate the emergence of alternatives beyond capitalism, rather than being an instrument for social control in the name of chimeric “empowerment” and “participation”.

Ana Cecilia Dinerstein (PhD) is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Bath, researching autonomous movements, social emancipation and the politics of policy. She is the author of numerous articles, chapters and books on Argentine and Latin American movements, politics and policy. Her book Autonomy in Latin America: The Art of Organising Hope will be published in 2014.