Beyond Civil Society

Activism, Participation, and Protest in Latin America

Book Pages: 408 Illustrations: 7 illustrations Published: May 2017

Latin American Studies, Politics > Political Science, Sociology

The contributors to Beyond Civil Society argue that the conventional distinction between civic and uncivic protest, and between activism in institutions and in the streets, does not accurately describe the complex interactions of forms and locations of activism characteristic of twenty-first-century Latin America. They show that most contemporary political activism in the region relies upon both confrontational collective action and civic participation at different moments. Operating within fluid, dynamic, and heterogeneous fields of contestation, activists have not been contained by governments or conventional political categories, but rather have overflowed their boundaries, opening new democratic spaces or extending existing ones in the process. These essays offer fresh insight into how the politics of activism, participation, and protest are manifest in Latin America today while providing a new conceptual language and an interpretive framework for examining issues that are critical for the future of the region and beyond.

Contributors. Sonia E. Alvarez, Kiran Asher, Leonardo Avritzer, Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Andrea Cornwall, Graciela DiMarco, Arturo Escobar, Raphael Hoetmer, Benjamin Junge, Luis E. Lander, Agustín Laó-Montes, Margarita López Maya, José Antonio Lucero, Graciela Monteagudo, Amalia Pallares, Jeffrey W. Rubin, Ana Claudia Teixeira, Millie Thayer


"The writers in this edited volume make an important contribution to the study of political dynamics in Latin America. . . . This book is particularly relevant at this time, when an increasing array of groups (including blacks, women, indigenous groups, and LGBT groups) are participating in civic and uncivic actions. Recommended." — S. L. Rozman, Choice

Beyond Civil Society is of its time, a moment to revisit and rethink the significance of transformative politics in the changed circumstances of the Latin American region.” — Maxine Molyneux, Journal of Latin American Studies

"The individual case studies of Beyond Civil Society include rich detail that will be of interest to activists and scholars of social movements alike, and the book’s discussion of the Civil Society Agenda and its consequences is an important contribution to scholarship on Latin America, democracy, and collective action." — EIAL

"The authors of this important edited collection interrogate what they call the 'civil society agenda.' . . .  Beyond Civil Society thus offers a sober analysis of the effectiveness and degree of political autonomy of movements working with Pink Tide governments or international organizations." — Dolores Trevizo, Mobilization

“[A] fascinating anthology of participation and protest in Latin America…. Beyond Civil Society is a very welcome contribution to the often-unintegrated debates about civil society, on the one hand, and social movements, on the other.” — Anna Krausova, Latin American Research Review

"This innovative collection provides needed theory, methods, and case studies to explain the new and multiple ways that political participation combining civic and 'uncivil' forms can result in progressive, democratic reform in Latin America. By highlighting the tensions between how spaces of civic participation can suck the energy out of social movements and how unruly social movements with 'uncivil' participants can push neoliberal governments to become more inclusive, this collection takes a giant step forward in political theorizing. Beyond Civil Society offers a fresh look at present and future political strategies and forms of participation." — Lynn Stephen, author of We Are the Face of Oaxaca: Testimony and Social Movements

"A much-needed intellectual contribution to the discussion around civil society, the state, and social mobilization in Latin America, this collection illuminates the stakes in thinking about state-society relations at a time when citizenship is guaranteed to all but only accessible by some. This will become a classic." — Wendy Wolford, author of This Land Is Ours Now: Social Mobilization and the Meanings of Land in Brazil


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Sonia E. Alvarez is Leonard J. Horwitz Professor of Latin American Politics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Jeffrey W. Rubin is Associate Professor of History at Boston University.

Millie Thayer is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Gianpaolo Baiocchi is Associate Professor of Individualized Studies and Sociology at New York University.

Agustín Laó-Montes is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Arturo Escobar is Kenan Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Foreword / Arturo Escobar  ix
Preface and Acknowledgments  xiii
Introduction. Interrogating the Civil Society Agenda, Reassessing Uncivic Political Activism / Sonia E. Alvarez, Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Agustín Laó-Montes, Jeffrey W. Rubin, and Millie Thayer  1
Part I. Interrogating the Civil Society Agenda: Reflections on Brazil
1. A Century of Councils: Participatory Budgeting and the Long History of Participation in Brazil / Gianpaolo Baiocchi  27
2. Civil Society in Brazil: From State Autonomy to Political Interdependency / Leonardo Avritzer  45
3. The Making and Unmaking of a New Democratic Space / Andrea Cornwall  63
4. Uncivil Subjects, Uncivil Women: Civic Participation, Ambivalence, and Political Subjectivity among Grassroots Community Leaders in Porto Alegre, Brazil / Benjamin Junge  81
Part II. Mapping Movement Fileds
5. Mapping the Field of Afro-Latin American Politics: In and Out of the Civil Society Agenda / Agustín Laó-Montes  103
6. Social Movement Demands in Argentina and the Constitution of a "Feminist People" / Graciela Di Marco  122
7. Politics by Other Means: Resistance to Neoliberal Politics / Graciela Monteagudo  141
8. The "Gray Zone" Between Movements and Markets: Brazilian Feminists and the International Aid Chain / Millie Thayer  156
Part III. The Nexus of Civic and Uncivic Politics
9. "This is No Longer a Democracy . . .": Thoughts on the Local Referendums on Mining on Peru's Northern Frontier / Raphael Hoetmer  179
10. From Afro-Colombians to Afro-Descendants: The Trajectory of Black Social Movements in Colombia, 1990–2010 / Kiran Asher  199
11. In the Streets and in the Institutions: Movements-in-Democracy and the Rural Women's Movement in Rio Grande Do Sol / Jeffrey W. Rubin  219
12. Refounding the Political: The Struggle for Provincialization in Santa Elena, Ecuador / Amaliea Pallares  238
Part IV. Movements, Regimes, and Refoundations
13. The Counterpoint Between Contention and Civic Collective Action in Venezuela's Recent Democracy / Margarita López Maya and Luis E. Lander  261
14. Brazil: Back to the Streets? / Gianpaolo Baiocchi and Ana Claudia Teixeira  282
15.Monuments of (De) Colonization: Violence, Democracy, and Gray Zones in Bolivia after January 11, 2007 / José Antonio Lucero  296
16 Beyond the Civil Society Agenda? Participation and Practices of Governance, Governability, and Governmentality in Latin America / Sonia E. Alvarez  316
Conclusion. Uncontained Activism / Millie Thayer and Jeffrey W. Rubin  331
References  339
Contributors  369
Index  373
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6325-5 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6307-1
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