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Concerning the social content or base of populism, the economic and social perspective stresses the importance of internal migrations and rapid urbanization, the lack of political experience and organizational skills among the new urban masses, and perhaps differences compared to the old working class, politically educated in the socialist, communist or anarchist programs. Thus populism can be understood as heterogeneous social coalitions, multiclass incorporation of the masses, especially urban workers but also middle sectors; the populist alliance is usually led by leaders of middle or upper strata origins.
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What is essential to note is the periodization related to this perspective. Because of its articulation with the structural requirements of the ISI the period appears as the chronological range of the populist stage. Even if this approach can find precedents in previous times for instance in the Mexican revolutionary forces of , or in the Argentine Yrigoyenismo of the same period the clearest interpretations take the hegemonic crisis in the thirties as a point of departure.
They do not deny the relevance of the social and economic aspects, but make the core of populism rest on aptitudes to organize the political field in two halves, the popular and the anti-popular. For this reason the chronological coverage is clearly different from the other explanation. The main problem about social and economic explanation resides in its top-down conception of politics, where it is not easy to understand the activation of lower classes —even if domination concerning political and social power should not be forgotten—, a crucial aspect of Latin American populism.
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In the first case because it appears as an effect of structural changes without political singularities; in the second case because it rejects historical particularity. This was clear in State- or leader-centered approaches. This period was considered as the realm of a society oppressed by an authoritarian state.
As a consequence, association was declared impossible and investigation of it remained superfluous. However, new research has shown the richness of associative life during the period, that was seized by Peronism as an object of political action, but where the articulation of neighborhood and politics remained alive. It has also shown the relevance of this associative life to understand specific aspects of populist politics.
There was an active associative life in the Peronist years.
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It implied something very different than the abatement or downfall of associations caused by authoritarian pressure from the State: it multiplied and extended in all the country including countryside. Peronist government was interested in the occupation of civil associations, which were considered as sites of power: unions, branches of the Peronist Party in every neighborhood, school cooperatives, libraries, etc.
Local demands were expressed by these complex associations: roads, schools, bridges, telephones, sewage, football clubs, etc. However, radicalization of statist programs ends up discouraging or repressing the associations in favor of state power. It is not social history separated from politics. The Western conceptual categorization thus reveals its peculiarity and the use of global references begins to open the agenda for a global historiography.
The problem does not reside in the generality of the concept, but in the homogeneous categorization of the unequal times concomitant in the streams of the historical expansion of capitalism. The dialectic between similarity and difference in historical situations requires a critique of the inherited concepts. It would be possible to expand the references, for instance, to Mexican cardenism, strongly based in the corporative organization of working class and peasantry.
It would be worth discussing the associative groundwork that was beginning to be interrelated with Gaitanismo until in Colombia, because it shows similarities with the cases previously commented, in spite of strong national differences. But in this case the peculiarities of the Dominican Republic blocked all possibilities of an active civil society.
In other words, it seems to belong to the innovations induced by the fourth globalizing stream of Latin American perspective in a global history. However the functional explanation seems unable to describe the contingence of political identification. I think that a global historical approach could help us to avoid the divide between the socio-economic and the political-ideological interpretations because it situates the populist moment in singular streams of globalizing tendencies as a singular segment of global history. What should never be forgotten is that the global historiographical approach is a theoretically informed point of view generated during the last two streams of the globalizing process.
In other words, despite the temptation of reifying global history as an objective reality, it is a retrospective reconstruction from the point of view of the current conceptual framework shaped in the context of an actually global capitalist world. In other words, only a global historiographical perspective is competent to surpass the well-known Scylla of the list of national cases and the Charybdis of a block of undifferentiated populism. McNeill, The Rise of the West.
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Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World — Global Connections and Comparisons, Oxford: Blackwell, James, The Black Jacobins. Vilas ed. Latham, Modernization as Ideology. Engerman et al. Colloques Omar Acha. Associations, democracy and populism: Brazil and Argentina.
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Global Connections and Comparisons, Peasants, the Trujillo Regime, and Modernity in Domin Latham, Mode Peace Corps. He lectures often in Portuguese and Spanish. Populism in Latin America. From the earliest years in the La Plata region to the end of the s, Latin American populists proved amazingly successful at gaining high office, holding onto power, maintaining their followings, and renewing their careers. They raised more campaign money, got more voters to the polls, and held followers' allegiances far better than traditional politicians.
Certainly some populist leaders corrupted their countries, others manipulated their followers, and still others disgraced themselves. Nevertheless, populist leaders were extraordinarily effective in reaching masses of voters, and some left positive legacies for future generations. Populism in Latin America provides an in-depth and thought-provoking assessment of the most prominent of these colorful and charismatic leaders, whose impact has been profound yet not fully recognized. Latin American scholars here survey the populist experiences in those nations most profoundly influenced by this distinctively Latin American way of conductingthe public's business -- Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama.