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Volume 53 / Social Sciences


BENJAMIN HADIS, Associate Professor of Sociology, Montclair State College


THE LACK OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT for sociology during the military dictatorships of 1966-73 and 1976-83 led to a proliferation of independent research centers, most of which have continued to expand since the restoration of democracy. The first wave of such centers relied on funding from abroad extended by both private foundations and international organizations. The better established institutions such as CEDES and CENEP belong to this category. A second wave of research centers received domestic funding from Argentine sources, both private foundations and large institutions such as political parties and labor unions. And finally, a third wave followed the emergence of public opinion poll research as an established scholarly practice. Succesful entrepreneurs/social scientists run these public opinion research centers whose results are published both for fellow social scientists and the public at large. Another notable trend, already mentioned in HLAS 51, is the number of sociologists hired by government agencies since the restoration of democracy and the impressive array of relevant data which they have generated. Since these developments, not only has the output of sociological work increased quantitatively, but the volume of research data accumulated is astounding.

As in the rest of Latin America, Argentina has seen the emergence of several private universities. Public universities continue to be essential in disciplines that require expensive infrastructure such as laboratories and equipment for instruction (e.g., the natural sciences). In contrast, Argentine private universities tend to specialize in fields that are not as expensive for classroom instruction; a growing number of social scientists now teach in these new private universities. On the other hand, a nationwide interest in sociology evident in Argentina today can be attributed to the expansion and consolidation of national universities in the interior of Argentina since the 1970s. Faculty development seminars are attracting the best that academic sociology offers in Argentina, and the enthusiasm among students and recent graduates is evident. International exchanges with North America, Europe and other Latin American nations have stimulated travel by sociologists and other social scientists to different geographical regions, igniting further interest in faculty and student exchanges.

All these developments have contributed to a notable increase in the quantity and quality of sociological publications, and promoted the growth of interest in new topics. In addition to the nation's traditional concerns with political and urban sociology, peronism, social stratification, and discourse analysis, there is now much interest in social gerontology, family sociology, gender relations, sociology of religion, popular culture and ethnicity. The extent and sophistication of recent publications in Argentine sociology demanded that we redefine our selection criteria for inclusion in this chapter of the Handbook by annotating only outstanding scholarly studies or works that contain data and/or information of academic interest.

The most striking omission among works examined for this biennium is analysis of the military and the military dictatorship, a favorite topic after the restoration of democracy, now neglected except for a few excellent entries. More than an analysis of the military per se, Marshall's work focuses on the social consequences of their economic policy (item bi 91003438). López examines the new military, in the aftermath of the "Dirty War" (item bi 91003437). Peralta Ramos presents an overview of the Argentine political economy since the 1930s which describes the on-and-off role of the military and their coups (item bi 92009710). Instead of attributing them to certain intrinsic characteristics of the armed forces, Peralta Ramos believes the coups are the result of complex interactions among different sectors of the Argentine bourgeoisie.

Interest in Argentina's transition to democracy continues to command considerable attention, but less than in HLAS 51. Maceira and Grillo present case studies of capital-labor accords in the provinces of Córdoba and Río Negro (item bi 91003415). Jelin compiles a volume of interesting analyses of the role of social movements in democratic transitions (item bi 91003444). Mora y Araujo reflects on the type of political leader that a new democracy requires (item bi 93001094), and in a compilation edited with Labourdette et al. (item bi 91003454), he also explores the current political period from a neoliberal perspective. The topic of democracy is also addressed by García Delgado, who advances a thesis about the existence of a long-standing popular democratic culture which contradicts the conventional wisdom that there is no democratic political culture in Argentina (item bi 91003445).

The interest in ethnicity already noted in HLAS 51 continues in this volume. An outstanding study of the Welsh of Patagonia by Williams centers on the dynamics between ethnic maintenance and ethnic shift (item bi 91025185). A religio-ethnic analysis of Afro-Brazilian santería by Segato challenges the notion of an Argentine melting pot (item bi 92005811). Golbert and Feldman's report on Spanish immigrants and institutions offers a glimpse of an aging ethnic group that still outnumbers their counterparts in France or Mexico (item bi 93001084).

A research trend that emerged after the restoration of democracy, the analysis of gender roles from a feminist perspective, has intensified in recent years. Although scholarship on the subject is still uneven, there are several outstanding works such as Schmuckler's article on the naturalización of family relations (see item bi 91003428); Cortés' fine analysis of how a labor surplus caused by the economic crisis has affected both female and male participation in the labor force (item bi 93001085); and other works which examine family violence (items bi 91003424 and bi 91003428), and the role of women in policy-making (item bi 92020034).

Critical works on labor and labor unionism continue to appear. Torre has written a magnificent account of the role played by the old labor movement in the formation of the peronist movement (item bi 93001120); he also edited a collection of papers that examine unionism after that same old labor movement was neutralized by Perón (item bi 91003425). Fernández's work centers on the trade unionists' losses after Perón's ouster in 1955 (item bi 91003441). Ranis has published a splendid study of the lives and aspirations of the working class that is also a vivid potrait of real Argentine workers (item bi 92011083). A more encompassing study of social stratification which makes exceptionally good use of census materials has been published by Iñigo Carrera and Podestá (item bi 91003413). In an admirable analysis of secondary data, Marshall compares the role played by temporary labor in Argentina and Western Europe (item bi 92014867).

Research on Argentina's entrepreneurs also continues in this volume, but the scholarship is somewhat uneven. Saulquin's work offers an account of the development of the apparel industry (item bi 93001105). A collective work by CEPNA researchers reports on opinions of Argentine entrepreneurs on every subject and problem they face as a group (item bi 91003453). Another study by Sguiglia analyzes the opinions of 15 entrepreneurs who have connections to large conglomerates (item bi 91003442).

By guaranteeing free expression, the democratic restoration has encouraged Argentines not only to speak freely but has turned them into better listeners of dissenting opinions. The result has been an explosion of research on public opinion trends. Examples are the above mentioned accounts of the opinions of entrepreneurs (items bi 91003453 and bi 91003442), of workers (item bi 92011083), and of the population as a whole by Carballo de Cilley (item bi 91003435) and Mora y Araujo (item bi 93001094).

There is a decline in research of population movements. The only major contribution on this topic was Meichtry's study of the out-migration from the provinces of Corrientes, Chaco, Entre Ríos, and Formosa (item bi 91003418). There is also an isolated, but fine work on social gerontology by Pantelides (item bi 91003451). And in addition to the above-mentioned work on Afro-Brazilian santería by Segato (item bi 92005811), there is a complilation by Chap et al. that reveals an emerging interest in the sociological study of religion. Saulquin's study of fashion also marks a new interest in popular culture (item bi 93001105).

There are a number of worthwhile reference works that address different topics: Barbé has published a reference guide to the study of political elites (item bi 92000052); Manzanal and Clichevsky have compiled a very helpful account of theoretical issues in and publications on urban studies (item bi 91003426); and Rivera has issued a survey of social communication research in Argentina (item bi 91003432).


Uruguayan sociology continues its impressive recovery from the devastation of military dictatorship. There is much research under way, but, as in other countries of the Southern Cone, most of it is conducted by private entities. This process is carefully examined by Prates in a survey of independent social science research centers (item bi 91003434).

Older works annotated below continue to focus on the military regime (e.g., items bi 91003436 and bi 91003452). There is also a recent collection of articles on the culture of fear in Latin America compiled by Corradi et al. which contains very interesting references to the mechanisms of terror in Uruguay (item bi 92020307) and the responses it evoked from the nation's youth (item bi 92020315). Political sociologists will be interested in the use of sociological theory and conclusions on the nation's democratic transition as expressed by a new generation of Uruguayan politicians (item bi 91003455).

Several valuable works examine the loss of Uruguayan population due to emigration to Argentina (items bi 91003419, bi 91003417, and bi 91003416). Other studies of development explore the implications which a community approach could have on different populations, according to gender (items bi 92019989) and age (item bi 91003447). Students of racial and ethnic relations as well as those concerned with the sociology of religion will be interested in descriptions of Afro-Brazilian religious cults still practiced in Uruguay today (item bi 91003427).

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