1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Social Policy and Development

The Politics and Policies of Social Incorporation in Latin America (Draft)



Karl Polanyi’s classical work, The Great Transformation (1944), echoes in the odd twenty years following the demise of authoritarian regimes and the end of Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI) in Latin America. This paper argues that the shift to the left that is currently taking place in the region is best characterized as an incipient response to a process of rapid and multifaceted socio-political conservative modernization that took place in the last two decades and a half. Conservative Modernization is a process by which while certain spheres and arenas of society become based on "modern" social relations (capitalist, bureaucratic, democratic) others remain dominated by forms of elite enclosure and tradition, thus inhibiting the expansion of other modern dynamics (coercion-based social relations, traditional elite politics, status-based hierarchical).

Fernando Filgueira is Senior Researcher at the Centro de Información y Estudios Sociales del Uruguay (CIESU).