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Economic Crises and the Evolution of Electoral Lefts in Latin America and Southern Europe, Enrico Padoan, LASP Seminar Series, Feb 26

Monday, February 26, 2018 at 12:15pm to 1:10pm

Uris Hall, 153 109 Tower Road, Ithaca, NY 14853

The dissertation consists in a comparative study of the evolution of the electoral Lefts in Latin America and Southern Europe in the aftermath of economic crises produced by the shortcomings of the neoliberal model. The research inserts in the comparative-historical tradition and relies on in-depth interviews with key partisan, union and social movements’ leaders in four different countries and on secondary literature.

The main goal is to explain why, in most of (but not in all) these countries, the left side of the political spectrum has been shaped by the irruption of new populist parties, and to propose a better categorization of these populist experiences, by focusing on their internal organization and on their relationship with the organised working-class. The research shows that two main macro-factors contribute to explain most of the (dis)continuity within the electoral Left and the different subtypes of ‘anti-neoliberal populisms’.

The first factor consists in the eventual credibility assumed by the existing partisan and unionist structures of intermediation as proponents of successful political projects critic of the neoliberal order (as occurred in Uruguay and Portugal). The second factor is represented by the different forms (‘unified’ or ‘fragmented’) assumed by the protest cycles in reaction to the crisis. I thus propose a categorization of the populist parties emerged as main electoral players: ‘movement (based) populisms’ (the Bolivian MAS-IPSP and the Spanish Podemos), ‘anti-institutional populisms’ (the Venezuelan Chavism and the Italian Five Star Movement) and ‘party-based populisms’ (the Argentine Kirchnerism and the Greek Syriza, which were able to strengthen their linkages to social actors thanks to their ideological and organizational characteristics). Each of these categories show very different relationships with the organizations representing the salaried workers.

Enrico Padoan is a LASP Graduate Student Visiting Scholar PhD candidate at Pontificial Catholic University of Chile. He holds a BA and a MA in Political Science at University of Padua, Italy. He is currently working on his doctoral dissertation, a comparative research about the emergence and the internal organization of antineoliberal populist parties in Latin America and Southern Europe, and the relationships between these parties and the organised working class. He has recently published two conceptual papers on populism in peer-reviewed Italian journals Quaderni di Scienza Politica and Partecipazione e Conflitto.

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Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Latino Studies Program, History, Government, Latin American Studies Program (LASP), Global Cornell

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Enrico Padoan

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LASP Graduate Visiting Scholar

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