Banging the other side of the saucepan: changing political activism and performance of citizenship among Argentina’s middle class, 2001-2013

Ozarow, Daniel (2019) Banging the other side of the saucepan: changing political activism and performance of citizenship among Argentina’s middle class, 2001-2013. In: Citizenship in the Latin American Upper and Middle Classes: Ethnographic Perspectives on Culture, Politics, and Consumption. Montero-Diaz, Fiorella and Winter, Franka, eds. Routledge Advances in Sociology . Routledge, pp. 117-133. ISBN 9780815353928

[img] PDF - Final accepted version (with author's formatting)
Restricted to Repository staff and depositor only until 16 November 2020.

Download (419kB)

Abstract

In 2012 Argentina’s urban centres bore witness to widespread anti-government protests which were led by sectors of the middle and upper-middle class. These uprisings occurred on a scale not seen since 2001-02 during the country’s economic and political crisis.

Yet the nature of middle-class political activism and the opinions held by those within it changed dramatically between these two events, as did how they made sense of what was happening to themselves vis-à-vis other social sectors. The 2001-02 movements were characterised by an appeal for ¡que se vayan todos! Middle-class citizens demanded the end of neoliberal governance and its replacement with a fairer society based on cross-class solidarity with workers and piqueteros alongside mass participation in the burgeoning radical, self-organised experiments in participatory democracy. In contrast by 2012 the hope that inspired these movements had evaporated and was replaced by inward-looking calls for the removal of President Cristina Kirchner, a reduction of crime and inflation and ending of currency controls alongside a restoration of their faith in opposition politicians with conservative agendas.

This chapter analyses how and why this transformation in political activism occurred. Using in-depth interviews with middle-class citizens on the eve of the 2012 protests and generated four key findings.

First, by 2012 citizenship had become reduced to an ‘occasional identity’ in its liberal embodiment as opposed to the intense and active form it had adopted a decade earlier. Secondly frustrations among some sectors of this class festered due to perceived violations of their citizenship rights and values. However they only exhibited passive channels of expression until a series of contingent events linked to their recognition of collective grievance-forming and the belief they could change things sparked citizen mobilisation. Third, by 2012 many came to make sense of their political reality by developing a mentality of middle-class victimhood with respect to unemployed and structurally impoverished sectors as well as the re-emergence of historical racialized and ideological tensions between them. It was these that eventually provoked a collective response. Finally they framed themselves as ‘good’ citizens as opposed to the ‘bad’ other. This inadvertently perpetuated their consent to be ruled by the existing order and stood in contrast to 2002 when class enemies were understood to hail from ‘above’ not ‘below’.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Areas: A. > Business School
A. > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations > Employment Relations group
A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
A. > School of Law > Law and Politics
A. > School of Law > Social Policy Research Centre
A. > School of Law > Urban Neighbourhood Research Unit (UNRU)
Item ID: 26469
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Citizenship in the Latin American Upper and Middle Classes: Ethnographic Perspectives on Culture, Politics, and Consumption on 02 May 2019, available online: http://www.routledge.com/9780815353928
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Daniel Ozarow
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2019 09:27
Last Modified: 24 May 2019 10:55
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/26469

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item

Full text downloads (NB count will be zero if no full text documents are attached to the record)

Downloads per month over the past year