2017 November Reviews

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Research Articles

Jared A. Abbott, Hillel David Soifer And Matthias Vom Hau. “Transforming the Nation? The Bolivarian Education Reform in Venezuela.” Journal of Latin American Studies 49 (2017): 885-916.

This article discusses attempts to transform national ideology and identity in Venezuela through education reform. The central government has revised public school curricula to include Bolivarian nationalism. These ideological changes are being contested by, among others, educators who are key to successful implementation. The article reveals the intra-state tensions that may challenge successful transformation of school systems as sites for cultivation of new national loyalties, findings which could be relevant far beyond Venezuela’s borders.

Abstract: The Chávez government introduced a “Bolivarian” national curriculum to promote radically different understandings of Venezuelan history and identity. We place the fate of this reform initiative within the broader study of state formation and nationalism. Scholars have long identified mass schooling as the key institution for socializing citizens and cultivating national loyalties, and many states have attempted to alter the nationalist content of schooling with these ends in mind. Venezuela constitutes an ideal case for identifying the specific conditions under which transformations of official national ideologies do and do not gain broader resonance. Using evidence derived from textbook analysis and semi-structured interviews with educational officials and teachers in Caracas, we highlight a new argument, showing that intrastate tensions between the central government and teachers, heightened by a well-established cultural machinery and by teachers’ increasing exclusion from the Chavista political coalition, explain the limited success in government efforts to implement Bolivarian nationalism through the school curriculum.

Keywords: Venezuela; education; nationalism; Chavismo.

DOI: 10.1017/S0022216X17000402

Lisa M. Vaughn et al. “Latinos Unidos por la Salud: The Process of Developing an Immigrant Community Research Team.” Collaborations: A Journal of Community-Based Research and Practice 1.1 (2017): 1-24.

This article can be regarded as a tool to better understand how to engage in community-based participatory research with the Latino immigrant population of the U.S. Understanding the community’s social determinants of health and reaching these communities can be challenging, but incorporating members of the community into the study proves to be beneficial for the research and to improve health outcomes. The research makes a great case for how using this bold approach in the medical and biomedical fields can achieve effective community-academic research partnerships.

Abstract: The tremendous Latino growth combined with the challenges of living in a nontraditional migration area make Latinos, particularly those who are undocumented, a “difficult-to-reach” and understudied population in research. We describe the development and practice of an immigrant community research team created to investigate and improve research quality regarding health-related needs, beliefs, and behaviors of recent Latino immigrants living in Cincinnati, Ohio. Our community research team, Latinos Unidos por la Salud (LU-Salud), is composed of Latino immigrant community members and academic researchers working in a health research partnership. The community team members are considered “co-researchers” since LU-Salud was designed within a community-based participatory research framework where we engaged in shared decision making at each phase of the research process from design, data collection, and interpretation of findings to dissemination. The co-researcher approach promoted shared decision-making and community empowerment throughout the research process with our community members providing expertise about the “what” (Latino immigrant health-related beliefs and behaviors, questionnaire content, interpretation of data) and the “why” (to obtain perspectives from Latino immigrants who typically don’t engage with academics) and our academic members bringing expertise about the “how” (research design and methods, grant funding).

Keywords: co-researchers; community-based participatory research; Latino immigrant health; community research team.

URL: http://scholarlyrepository.miami.edu/collaborations/vol1/iss1/2

Daniela Issa. “Reification and the Human Commodity: Theorizing Modern Slavery in Brazil.” Latin American Perspectives 44.6 (2017): 90-106.

This article offers an innovative theoretical lens on modern slavery in Brazil based upon György Lukács’ conceptualization of reification. This perspective conceptualizes the phenomenon as a process of objectification in which, “whether workers are lured into or resign themselves to slave labor, they become human commodities.” This process of objectification is especially visible in what the article’s author defines as “The Reified Logic of the Debt,” as well as in changes made to Brazilian law that define what constitutes “slave labor” and add criteria aiming to protect workers’ health and human dignity. Researchers working on issues of Law and Social Justice will find this article useful, since its understanding of modern slavery through Lukács’ concept of reification explains how workers are reduced to human commodities in Brazil’s rural sector in general and the Amazon region in particular.

Abstract: Modern slavery in Brazil exemplifies the culmination of reification as theorized by György Lukács, characterized by the commodification and dehumanization of labor and the extreme objectification of workers, who become “human commodities” in the capitalist system—“commodities” that produce other commodities. The concept of reification was incorporated into the 2003 Brazilian law on slave labor, where equating a human being with a thing in the performance of labor is a crime regardless of whether a worker is confined.

Keywords: reification; modern slavery; slave labor; objectification; commodification of labor; Brazil.

URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/0094582X17727480

Marcos Mendoza et al. “The Patagonian Imaginary: Natural Resources and Global Capitalism at the Far End of the World.” Journal of Latin American Geography 16.2 (2017): 93-116.

Featuring one of the most environmentally profound areas of the world, this article discusses the transitional regimes of representational value that impact Southern Andean Patagonia within green development. In a collaborative effort, multiple researchers in the region examine the process by which Patagonia has become an eco-region whose reality is negotiated through competing forces. The authors highlight and question the constant state of construction within regional territorial imaginaries that impact Southern Andean communities and natural resource management.

Abstract: This paper examines how Southern Andean Patagonia has been increasingly incorporated within networks of global capital since the 1990s. Once defined by military violence against indigenous societies, white settler colonialism, and livestock farming, this remote region has become an iconic center for green development in Latin America. This article develops the argument that a regional territorial imaginary —grounded in a history of borderland geopolitics— has facilitated this recent shift towards green development across the resource domains of land conservation, hydropower, and forestry. The discussion addresses the different ways in which forests, waterways, and protected areas (public and private) have been integrated into a hegemonic vision promoting eco-regionalism among state, corporate, and civil society actors. This analysis thus contributes to scholarship on global capitalism, natural resource governance, and green development in Latin America by developing the concept of the regional territorial imaginary to describe these dynamics. This analytic highlights how processes of capitalist specialization and regionalization occur through the open-ended consolidation of master images that build upon spatial histories, transnational regimes of representational value, and political struggles among diverse actors.

Keywords: Regional territorial imaginary; green development; global capitalism; Patagonia.

DOI: 10.1353/lag.2017.0023

Diego Alonso. “Borges y la escritura de la historia. Tres tesis en torno a ‘Tema del traidor y del héroe.’” Latin American Literary Review 44.88 (2017): 51-58.

This article proposes a new approach to understanding Jorge Luis Borges’ short story “Tema del traidor y del héroe” through the analysis of the connections between fiction and history. The three theses presented highlight the contribution of Borges to “a historical criticism that not only indicates a substantial difference with idealism, but also points against the assumptions of historicism.” According to Alonso, in Borges’ literature the fictionalization of the past does not contradict its veracity. Borges’ use of anachronism annuls the historical distance between historical facts and the fictionalization of that very past, and consequently displays a different form of intelligibility. What makes this article significant in the vast bibliography about Jorge Luis Borges is that it demonstrates the importance of the articulation of regimes of temporality and the redefinition of causality in Borges’ narrative by means of a particular understanding of the dynamics between fiction and history.

Abstract: Fundado sobre principios de la hermenéutica crítica (Ricoeur), este análisis del cuento de Jorge L. Borges, “Tema del traidor y del héroe” (1944), se concentra en la relación de la ficción con el pasado y sus implicaciones para la historia. La contribución de la ficción se hace visible en uno de los pasos de la operación historiográfica, a saber, la narración o puesta en relato de la investigación. Contrariamente a una lectura escéptica de la obra de Borges se subraya aquí la contribución de la trama narrativa en la articulación de los regímenes de temporalidad y la redefinición de modos de causalidad que resultan operativos en el saber histórico. A la vez, si bien de manera marginal, se destaca la relevancia que adquieren la memoria y el olvido dentro de esta discusión.

Keywords: Jorge L. Borges; “Tema del traidor y del héroe”; ficción; historia; regímenes de temporalidad; anacronismo.

URL: https://lalronline.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/lalr_88_2017_complete.pdf

María Clemencia Ramírez. “Las conversaciones de paz en Colombia y el reconocimiento de los cultivadores de coca como víctimas y sujetos de derechos diferenciados.” Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies / Revue Canadienne des Études Latino-Américaines et Caraïbes 42.3 (2017): 350-374.

The complex process of peace negotiations between the Colombian Government and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) is analyzed in this article from the perspective of its impact in the campesinos cocaleros (coca growers). Situated at the crossroad of the conflict, this segment of the rural Colombian population has been double victimized: the Government recognizes them as victims of the armed conflict and they see themselves as victims of drug trafficking. Through an approach that examines the ways in which coca growers identify themselves, the article’s author explores how the politics of differentiated inclusion necessarily involves a further discussion of social insertion, citizenship and interculturality, especially from the standpoint of a social group like the coca growers, whose identity is first and foremost linked to the land they inhabit.

Abstract: In this article I argue that the conduct of the war on drugs in Colombia has been influenced by the discourse of truth, reconciliation, and reparation at the core of the peace negotiations with the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). The government’s recognition of peasant coca growers (campesinos cocaleros) as victims of the conflict is one example of this influence, and another is the cocaleros’ own appropriation of the discourse of reparation to frame their struggle for decriminalization as a demand for recognition by the state as political subjects with special rights. This demand brings up two points. First, campesinos cocaleros consider themselves victims of both the armed conflict and widespread drug trafficking in the rural areas where they live and work. Second, although, unlike Colombia’s indigenous and Afro-descended populations, they share no identifying ethnic identity, they identify as a culturally diverse social and political group, whose rights and survival must be defended based on another defining characteristic: their rootedness on the land. I argue that this defense goes beyond the exercise of the politics of identity to the exercise of the politics of differentiated inclusion, which entails the redefinition of citizenship and the setting up of actions based on principles of interculturality.

Keywords: Citizenship; coca growers; cultural rights; politics of inclusion; peace negotiations; Catatumbo; Putumayo.

URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/08263663.2017.1379135

 

Opinion and Journalistic Articles

Ángel “Monxo” López Santiago. “Decolonize the Caribbean.” Nacla Report on the Americas. Oct. 19, 2017.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria wreaked havoc and left the Caribbean islands with an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Those islands most affected by the 2017 hurricane season are not independent states, such as the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. In thinking about recovery and reconstruction, Ángel López Santiago suggests that we must think about how to decolonize the Caribbean. The hurricanes only exacerbated the volatile economic and physical infrastructure on the islands, which laid the foundation for catastrophic devastation, a situation brought about by years of colonialism. The author calls for sovereignty in the areas of food, energy, land, and trade with the diasporas playing a fundamental role in the processes.

In lieu of an abstract, an excerpt: The hurricanes have blown away decades of legal and international maneuvers and ruses, local constitutions, and moves towards autonomy and integration and administrative reclassifications —leaving exposed a simple colonial truth. The hurricanes have shown that the Caribbean islands, regardless of title, as all colonies throughout history, exist to serve the colonial masters, and not the other way around. The Caribbean is in need of food sovereignty, energy sovereignty, and land sovereignty. As it is today, decision-making about each of these key elements of life and livelihood has been determined from without. Instead of sovereignty, to decolonize the Caribbean, we must speak and write about sovereignties.

Keywords: Caribbean; hurricanes; decolonization; sovereignty; diaspora.

URL: https://nacla.org/news/2017/10/19/decolonize-caribbean

Gary Clyde Hufbauer. “Can Trump terminate NAFTA?” Peterson Institute for International Economics. Oct. 10, 2017.

Withdrawing the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was one of President Trump’s campaign promises as he called it the “worst trade agreement in history.” But can the President legally withdraw the United States from the agreement? Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, examines the question: “Can the president withdraw the United States from the agreement, and rewrite US commercial relations with Mexico and Canada, without the assent of Congress and the courts?” The article provides an insightful analysis of the legal issues at hand.

In lieu of an abstract, an excerpt: Article 2205 of the NAFTA agreement enables any party to withdraw: “A Party may withdraw from this Agreement six months after it provides written notice of withdrawal to the other Parties. If a Party withdraws, the Agreement shall remain in force for the remaining Parties.” The legal question: Can the president alone withdraw, or does he require the consent of Congress to invoke Article 2205? Of course, notice of withdrawal is not the same as withdrawing, since the notice could be rescinded within the six-month period (or rescinded at a later date if the president stipulates that withdrawal is not effective until, for example, January 1, 2019). Given Trump’s penchant for dramatic gestures, he could use the notice as a negotiating tactic. But if the president does issue a notice, the legal question will be front and center.

Keywords: NAFTA; Trump; trade agreement; withdraw; legality.

URL: https://piie.com/blogs/trade-investment-policy-watch/can-trump-terminate-nafta

 

Books and Monographs

Manuela Lavinas Picq. Vernacular Sovereignties: Indigenous Women Challenging World Politics. Tucson: Arizona University Press, 2018. 232 p. (Forthcoming)

Hardcover 9780816537358 | Ebook 9780816538249

Manuela Lavinas Picq, a scholar and journalist, is a Professor of International Relations at Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador and a Visiting Professor at Amherst College in Massachusetts. Her book Vernacular Sovereignties: Indigenous Women Challenging World Politics will soon be published by Arizona University Press. Dr. Picq received her doctoral degree in International Studies from the University of Miami and was the recipient of the 2004 Barrett Prize for best dissertation on a Latin American topic.

According to Arizona University Press, “In Vernacular Sovereignties, Manuela Lavinas Picq shows that Indigenous women have long been dynamic political actors who have partaken in international politics and have shaped state practices carrying different forms of resistance. Her research on Ecuador shows that although Kichwa women face overlapping oppressions from socioeconomic exclusions to sexual violence, they are achieving rights unparalleled in the world. Picq argues that Indigenous women are among the important forces reshaping states in Latin America. She offers empirical research that shows the significance of Indigenous women in international politics and the sophistication of their activism. Indigenous women strategically use international norms to shape legal authority locally, defying Western practices of authority as they build what the author calls vernacular sovereignties. Weaving feminist perspectives with Indigenous studies, this interdisciplinary work expands conceptual debates on state sovereignty.”

https://uapress.arizona.edu/book/vernacular-sovereignties

 

Research Articles

Kelly M. Torres. “Puerto Rico, the 51st State: The Implications of Statehood on Culture and Language.” Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies / Revue Canadienne des Études Latino-Américaines et Caraïbes 42.2 (2017): 165-180.

The article analyzes the implications that a future stage of statehood could carry in Puerto Rico’s culture and language. The qualitative study was conducted on the island and on Puerto Rican communities in Florida. The results presented and discussed by the author show that the divergent points of view were precisely those involving the future impact of statehood on the spoken language, the preservation of their culture and traditions, the educational system, and the economy. Although the questions of language and culture receive more attention, the views on the economic implications, for example, are especially significant at the present time. With a recovery enterprise still underway after the impact of Hurricane Maria, the study made by Torres may contribute by way of an informed vision to the ongoing discussion on the perceptions of statehood by showing how the issue was perceived before such a catastrophe. It is a study that touches precisely on how a community identifies what is at stake when discussing statehood and its effect on the island’s future.

Abstract: The issue of statehood has been a controversial topic for many decades in Puerto Rico. This has resulted in a total of four referendums for statehood taking place on the island. What is unique about the last referendum, which occurred in 2012, is that the majority of residents on the island voted in favor of statehood. Although the implications of statehood are currently unknown, one problem that could arise is a change in the native language (Spanish) and culture of the island. Therefore, this qualitative study investigated Puerto Ricans residing in different geographic regions (i.e. Puerto Rico and Florida) to determine if they have differing views regarding statehood, commonwealth, and independence. Differences were found among participants in that they had diverse opinions as to how statehood could impact the island in terms of the language spoken (Spanish or English), the culture of the island, the educational system, and the economy.

Keywords: Culture; Puerto Rico; Sociocultural Theory; Spanish; Statehood.

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08263663.2017.1323615

María Cristina Bayón and Gonzalo A. Saraví. “Place, Class Interaction, and Urban Segregation: Experiencing Inequality in Mexico City.” Space and Culture (October 2017).

The urban landscape of Mexico City is captured eloquently in this study demonstrating class stratification and spatial inequalities within a city. The article reflects on a combination of results from two ethnographic fieldwork sites to describe life and spatial divides of the urban poor in contrast to those with a more privileged socioeconomic background. Through a phenomenological approach the authors explore themes of othering and stigmatization as well as devaluation pertaining to human experiences in specific places and spaces that people belong to in Mexico City. Urban segregation must account for meanings and perceptions constructed by social and cultural realities of the people inhabiting these spaces.

Abstract: Based on ethnographic research conducted in wealthy and deprived areas of Mexico City, this article analyzes and discusses the contribution of place and class interaction in shaping urban segregation. Spatial isolation and social homogeneity are both the result of structural forces and cultural processes embodied in individual practices. Focusing on cultural processes, three main issues are explored: “the sense of place” in poor peripheries; the experience of “being-in-place,” or “being-out-of-place” among people coming from disadvantaged and privileged backgrounds; and the process of “othering” in urban encounters between social classes. We conclude that current processes give a new character to the experience of urban inequality, which deeply erodes social coexistence, recognition, and solidarity.

Keywords: Class Interaction; Othering; Mexico City; Urban Segregation.

URL: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1206331217734540

A. Brambila. “Forced Silence: Determinants of Journalist Killings in Mexico’s States, 2010-2015.” Journal of Information Policy 7 (2017): 297-326.

This article examines the rise of journalist killings in Mexico during the period 2010 to 2015. It is focused on examining the extent to which the social determinants of the killing of journalists identified in the literature, are associated or not with the killing of journalists in Mexico’s states. It adopts a subnational research strategy with states or regions as the unit of analysis. Of the study’s forty-one cases of journalist killings over the period 2010 to 2015, six states comprised 72 percent of all killings, and all forty-one journalists were Mexicans. The research therefore asks, why are some subnational states more dangerous for journalists? The author proposes and tests six hypotheses using quantitative methods.

Abstract: Why are some subnational states more dangerous for journalists? This exploratory article assesses the association of social variables with the murders of journalists within one single country, Mexico, where forty-one journalists were killed from 2010 to 2015. The article suggests that the violent deaths of journalists in Mexico’s thirty-two states are more likely to happen in those subnational polities with high levels of social violence, internal conflict, severe violations of human rights, low democratic development, and economic inequality. The implications of this research and policy recommendations are discussed within the conclusion.

Keywords: Anti-Press Violence; Mexican Journalism; Journalists’ Murders; Press Freedom; Subnational Comparisons.

URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5325/jinfopoli.7.2017.0297

Gibran Cruz-Martinez. “Is there a Common Path that could have conditioned the Degree of Welfare State Development in Latin America and the Caribbean?” Bulletin of Latin American Research 36.4 (2017): 459-476.

In The Political Economy of the Welfare State in Latin America: Globalization, Democracy, and Development (2007), Alex Segura-Ubiergo identified a common path of political and economic conditions that could explain the different levels of welfare effort in Latin America using “the main explanatory theories of the European welfare state, plus ‘democratic experience’ as an additional explanatory variable.” This article contests that evaluation, inquiring from a multidimensional perspective “the possible existence of a single path that could have conditioned the degree of welfare state development in Latin America and the Caribbean.” After using qualitative comparative analysis as research technique and contrasting its findings with Segura-Ubiergo’s, the author of the article concludes how “it is of utmost importance to conceptualize and operationalize the welfare state by its multidimensional reality.” What perhaps makes this article important for those working on social development and economic disparities is that, by way of rejecting Segura-Ubiergo’s findings with substantial statistical evidence, this study confirms that social spending is not the only factor to take into account when analyzing welfare state development, and that “relatively low levels of democratization and industrialization appear to be the main reason behind the relatively low welfare state development of eight Latin American and Caribbean countries,” namely Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Paraguay.

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to re-examine from a multidimensional perspective the possible existence of a single path that could have conditioned the degree of welfare state development (WSD) in Latin America. Economic/industrial development, trade-openness, democracy and the strength of leftist parties-labour movement are used as explanatory variables in the qualitative comparative analysis. In contrast to previous findings, this paper shows that there is no evidence of a common path followed by countries with a relatively high/medium WSD. Nevertheless, countries that experienced a low economic/industrial development combined with a low democratic experience were conditioned to have low WSD.

Keywords: Latin America; Multidimensional Welfare Index; PCA; QCA; Social Spending; Welfare State.

Url: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/blar.12556/full

Ana Cristina González Vélez and Isabel Cristina Jaramillo. “Legal Knowledge as a Tool for Social Change.” Health and Human Rights 19.1 (2017): 109-118.

The criminalization of abortion and women’s reproductive rights is a topic of much debate. The organization La Mesa has been at the forefront of legal matters concerning abortions in Colombia for over a decade. This article reviews the results of 55 interviews conducted with stakeholders to assess the impact of La Mesa in becoming legal experts for protecting the reproductive rights of women as well as the decriminalization of abortion in Colombian society. This study underscores the importance of civil society to enact social change in the protection of human rights.

Abstract: In May 2006, Colombia’s Constitutional Court liberalized abortion, introducing three circumstances under which the procedure would not be considered a crime: (1) rape or incest; (2) a risk to the woman’s health or life; and (3) fetal malformations incompatible with life. Immediately following the court’s ruling, known as Sentence C-355, members of La Mesa por la Vida y Salud de las Mujeres (hereinafter La Mesa) began to mobilize to ensure the decision’s implementation, bearing in mind the limited impact that the legal framework endorsed by the court has had in other countries in the region. We argue that La Mesa’s strategy is an innovative one in the field of legal mobilization insofar as it presumes that law can be shaped not just by public officials and universities but also by social actors engaged in the creation and diffusion of legal knowledge. In this regard, La Mesa has become a legal expert on abortion by accumulating knowledge about the multiple legal rules affecting the practice of abortion and about the situations in which these rules are to be applied. In addition, by becoming a legal expert, La Mesa has been able to persuade health providers that they will not risk criminal prosecution or being fired if they perform abortions. We call this effect of legal mobilization a “pedagogical effect” insofar as it involves the production of expertise and appropriation of knowledge by health professionals. We conclude by discussing La Mesa’s choice to become a legal expert on abortion as opposed to recruiting academics to do this work or encouraging women to produce and disseminate this knowledge.

Keywords: Social Change; Colombia; Abortion Laws; Legal Knowledge; Reproductive Rights.

URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5473042/

Jiménez, M.C. Monroe, N. Zamora and J. Benayas. “Trends in environmental education for biodiversity conservation in Costa Rica.” Environment, Development and Sustainability 19.1 (2017): 221-238. 

The authors describe efforts by the Costa Rican government to implement communication, education and public awareness and participation strategy efforts for biodiversity conservation. The content analysis of the interviews conducted with conservation practitioners suggest that the programs have been applying innovative teaching methodologies for a community-based approach for the community management of natural resources. The article features a conceptual model for these education initiatives that integrates conservation and economic development approaches to meet biodiversity conservation goals that can be reproduced in other countries.

Abstract: Costa Rica is internationally recognized for its abundant biodiversity and being a leader in the promotion of education strategies for biodiversity conservation. We interviewed staff from 16 institutions developing key environmental communication, education, and participation projects for biodiversity conservation in the country. Through content analysis, hierarchical cluster analysis and Chi-square tests, we examined the characteristics of the projects carried out by these institutions and developed a typology of four categories derived from six variables: primary audience, content, project purpose, location, scale, and facility. Then, we designed a conceptual model describing the integration of conservation and economic development in the educational projects. We found two key approaches related to this integration: vision of nature protection, which aims to inform audiences of ecological concepts and focuses on schoolchildren and vision of sustainability which engages adult audiences and is management-oriented. Education for community-based environmental management may serve as a good example of educational projects which integrate conservation and economic development, implementing a vision of sustainability.

Keywords: Costa Rica; Biodiversity education; Community-based management; Biological education; Green classrooms; Integration Sustainability.

URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10668-015-9734-y

Laura Márquez-Ramos, Luis Marcelo Florensa and María Luisa Recalde. “Understanding the Determinants of Economic Integration in Latin America.” Journal of Economic Integration 32.3 (September 2017): 558-585.

Given the current political climate in the U.S., where regional economic agreements such as NAFTA are being called into question, this research makes a timely empirical contribution to the literature on Latin American economic integration. This study examines the factors that have determined the level of economic integration among countries in Latin America. The dataset covers the period 1962 to 2009. Quantitative techniques are used and new variables are added such as exogenous political events including the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the Bolivarian Revolution. The study concludes that in addition to geographic and economic factors, political and institutional factors are important determinants of existing negotiated agreements.

Abstract: When signing or enhancing trade agreements with Latin America, political and institutional factors play a more important role at present compared with their role in the past. In addition, a better institutional framework increases covered and legally enforceable provisions in Latin America trade agreements. This paper analyzes the determinants of economic integration in Latin America and the institutional quality of signed trade agreements with this region. By focusing on both a discrete choice and a linear framework, the study results prove that economic, geographic, institutional, and political factors influence economic integration. This is because these aspects are key elements in the formation and enhancement of trade agreements both within and outside Latin America. This study considers the role of additional exogenous political facts, such as the September 11 attacks in New York City, and the Revolución Bolivariana, a leftist movement in Venezuela, which affected economic integration in Latin America.

Keywords: Trade Agreements; Latin America; Institutional and Political Factors; Institutional Quality.

URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/44324470

Kyle Matthews. “Baroque Jazz: Toward a New Understanding of Musical Form in Carpentier’s Concierto Barroco.” Latin American Literary Review 44.87 (2017): 2-7.

The article proposes a new vision of the importance of musical form in Alejo Carpentier’s Concierto barroco. While the critical reception of the musical elements of Carpentier’s masterpiece has taken its cue from his use of the Baroque lexicon and references —usually leading to an amount of vague musical terminology that “coyly sidestepped any real structural analysis of the novel’s musical content”—, the author of this article argues how the subversion of European musical forms through contact with American elements “allows Carpentier to construct a compelling metaphor for the vitality and remarkable originality of the New World” in order to “contribute fresh growth to a stagnant cultural system no lon­ger adequate to deal with syncretic, transatlantic realities.” What makes this article noteworthy in the vast bibliography about Carpentier’s novel is precisely how it demonstrates the ways in which Carpentier draws on the notion of jazz as a modern American ‘Baroque concerto,’ and how jazz contributes explicitly in the novel’s thematic content while also “forming the structural metaphor that supports it.”

Abstract: Since its publication in 1974, there has been a concerted effort to force Alejo Carpentier’s Concierto barroco to conform to the musical genre from which it derives its name. In spite of Carpentier’s advanced knowledge of musical form, these efforts have largely resulted in imprecise or inaccurate representations of the Baroque Concerto, or selective interpretations that avoid inconvenient narrative details. Without the imprecision or textual violence exhibited in its analytical predecessors, the present article seeks to correct these imprecisions and understand the function of musical form not as a formal constraint, but rather as both a superficial and structuring element in the novel. By first analyzing the neo-Baroque aspects of Carpentier’s technical style, I will offer interpretations of three key moments in the novel when European Baroque musical form is subverted, reinvigorated, and transformed by way of contact with distinctly American styles and perspectives. In considering these moments, I will suggest that the Baroque Concerto of Concierto barroco is not a Baroque Concerto at all. Rather, Carpentier narrates an inventive creation story for a musical genre that is more consistent with the novel’s pro-American ideological stance; the modern, syncretic, and transatlantic counterpart of the Baroque: jazz.

Keywords: Transatlantic; Music; Jazz; Neo-Baroque; Syncretism; Alejo Carpentier; Musical Form.

URL: https://www.lalrp.net/articles/abstract/16/

Sandra Wienand and Stiven Tremaria. “Paramilitarism in a Post-Demobilization Context? Insights from the Department of Antioquia in Colombia.” European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies / Revista Europea de Estudios Latinoamericanos y del Caribe 103 (January-June 2017): 25-50.

Despite recent progress in Colombia’s peace process, paramilitary successor groups remain non-state actors who challenge the prospects for sustainable peace. These authors have traced the trajectory of “paramilitarism” in one of the regions of Colombia, the Department of Antioquia, by drawing insights from fieldwork conducted in the city of Medellin in 2015. According to the authors, these paramilitary successor groups continue to influence society by maintaining a violent social order. The article tries to “operationalize the social dimension of the enduring ‘paramilitary legacy’ in the country”.

Abstract: Despite efforts employed by the Colombian state to demobilize paramilitary groups and to tackle organized crime structures since 2003, Colombia today remains characterized by a repressive apparatus of social control by paramilitary successor groups in certain sectors of the population. Drawing on information from Colombia’s second-largest city —Medellín— and various rural areas of the Department of Antioquia, this work offers a characterization of the legacies of the paramilitary phenomenon, and its continuities and transformations in relation to one particular paramilitary confederation, the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC). In many regions, the AUC gained territorial, economic, and social control by managing the illegal drug economy and perpetrating political violence against leftist parties and social organizations. Paramilitaries have thus exerted what we refer to as status quo-oriented violence. As we illustrate for the case of Medellín, mechanisms of territorial, economic, and social control, as well as the particular manifestations of violence related to these mechanisms, have been transferred to paramilitary successor groups. The findings are mainly based on the outcomes of qualitative field research carried out in Medellín in mid-2015.

Keywords: Medellín; Department of Antioquia; Social, economic, and territorial control; Paramilitary successor groups; Organized crime; Colombia.

URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/90012012

 

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