Freitag 18. Januar 2019
Middle Class in Latin America
Volume XXXIII • Issue 4 • 2017

Fewer people living in poverty than in the ‘golden mean’ of society – Latin America has finally transformed itself into a middle class region. At least that is the opinion held by some World Bank officials. But how does this resonate with the still persisting and high inequality in Latin America? In which way does such an assessment relate to the Latin American left turn during the last decades? Furthermore, what are we actually referring to with middle class? And more generally, what ideas of society lurk behind the term?
This special issue tries to address some of these topics, attempting to interrogate this analysis of international development organisations as well as discourses and policies predominant during the pink tide in Latin America. The authors of this issue seek to put the spotlight on more meaningful concepts of the middle class and associated accounts of social realities in Latin America.

 

Schwerpunktredaktion: Tobias Boos, Gregor Seidl

Print ISSN: 0258-2384│Online ISSN: 2414-3197

 

                                                                                          

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Inhalt dieser Ausgabe
Boos, Tobias; Seidl, Gregor

Rise of the Latin American Middle Class – or (Statistical) Storm in a Teapot?

Sprache: ENGLISCHSeiten: 4-15https://doi.org/10.20446/JEP-2414-3197-33-4-4
  • Abstract
  • Literatur
  • Keywords

Fewer people living in poverty than in the ‘golden mean’ of society – Latin America has finally transformed itself into a middle class region. At least that is the opinion held by some World Bank officials. But how does this resonate with the still persisting and high inequality in Latin America? In which way does such an assessment relate to the Latin American left turn during the last decades? Furthermore, what are we actually referring to with middle class? And more generally, what ideas of society lurk behind the term?
This special issue tries to address some of these topics, attempting to interrogate this analysis of international development organisations as well as discourses and policies predominant during the pink tide in Latin America. The authors of this issue seek to put the spotlight on more meaningful concepts of the middle class and associated accounts of social realities in Latin America.

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Latin America, Middle Class, International Development Organisations

Boris, Dieter

Aspekte von Mittelschichten in Lateinamerika heute

Sprache: DEUTSCHSeiten: 16-36https://doi.org/10.20446/JEP-2414-3197-33-4-16
  • Abstract
  • Literatur
  • Keywords

Dieser Artikel analysiert die Determinanten des Wachstums der Mittelschichten in Lateinamerika seit Beginn des neuen Jahrtausends, insbesondere während der relativ lang anhaltenden „Boom“-Periode von 2002 bis 2012/13. Davon ausgehend betrachtet er die innere Differenzierung und die Rolle dieser Mittelschichten zu Zeiten von Links- oder Mitte-links-Regierungen. Weiterhin geht er auf die beginnende Rezession 2013/14 in Lateinamerika ein und analysiert die damit verbundene partielle politische Umorientierung von Teilen der Mittelschichten. Am Ende des Beitrags finden sich theoretische und methodologische Reflexionen zur Konzeptualisierung von „Mittelschichten“ in Lateinamerika.

Adamovsky, Ezequiel (2013): ‚Clase media‘: reflexiones sobre los (malos) usos académicos de una categoría. In: Nueva Sociedad 247, 38-49.


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Mittelschichten, Lateinamerika, Sozialstruktur, Linksregierungen

Boos, Tobias

Pact of Consumption – Kirchnerism and the Argentinian Middle Class

Sprache: ENGLISCHSeiten: 37-62https://doi.org/10.20446/JEP-2414-3197-33-4-37
  • Abstract
  • Literatur
  • Keywords

The debate about an adequate characterisation of the pink tide governments in Latin America has gained new momentum since the so-called progressive cycle seems to have come to an end. One of the most recent debates is inspired by the term pacto de consumo (pact of consumption). The main argument here is that the progressive governments have been able to raise the level of consumption of the popular classes and the (lower) middle classes. This article examines the hypothesis of a pact of consumption in the case of the Argentinian middle class and the Kirchnerist governments. The article argues, firstly, for a historic-relational concept of class, linking it through the regulationist term of mode of consumption to an intermediate level. Based on this notion of class, the article, secondly, explores the government´s strategies regarding expanding the consumption capacities of the middle class. Thirdly, it takes up the example of energy subsidies to show how the pact of consumption fostered by Kirchnerism should rather be understood as a reciprocal process of hegemonic integration than a unidirectional strategy from above.

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middle class, Kirchnerism, pact of consumption, progressive cycle, Latin America

Melo, Jairo Baquero

Middle Classes and Rurality: The Expansion of Urban Middle Classes and New Social Inequalities in Colombia

Sprache: ENGLISCHSeiten: 63-84https://doi.org/10.20446/JEP-2414-3197-33-4-63
  • Abstract
  • Literatur
  • Keywords

In this article I analyse the relationship between rurality and middle classes. Few recent studies on middle classes have examined the role of rurality within middle class expansion processes at the global scale. I conducted a critical analysis of rurality and the middle classes in light of a recent proliferation of studies on global middle classes. This proliferation may be reflective of an evolving political and academic discourse within mainstream institutions, aimed at promoting the expansion of urban middle classes. Consequently, a critical analysis of this political and academic discourse attending to the various impacts of the expansion of urban middle classes on nature, and on rural areas and populations, is required. I applied mixed research methods in a case study of Colombia. The results indicated a paradox inherent in the expansion of middle classes. On the one hand, this expansion is aimed at reducing general social inequalities, and yet, on the other hand, it increases rural (and urban–rural) inequalities. Moreover, the expansion of urban middle classes reproduces land concentration and has negative impacts on nature. Concurrently, connections between urban and rural populations, along with new ruralities encompassing urban middle class populations, are evolving under the banner of sustainability. These trends reflect the complexity of structures of inequality in the connections between rural and urban populations.

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middle classes, rurality, environment, land distribution, social inequalities

Fleury, Sonia

Forging a New Middle Class in Emerging Democracies

Sprache: ENGLISCHSeiten: 85-109https://doi.org/10.20446/JEP-2414-3197-33-4-85
  • Abstract
  • Literatur
  • Keywords

The article details the production of a narrative about the New Middle Class (NMC) that is recently articulated in academic articles (see among others Neri 2016) and promotes a perspective disseminated by the World Bank, OECD, and The Economist. This narrative also supports governmental strategy to fight poverty. Fighting poverty has been on the Brazilian political agenda since the democratisation process began. However, there are different strategies to deal with this situation, one of which is specified in the Federal Constitution in terms of universal social rights for citizens’ status. The other is based on increasing the consumption power of the poor and is identified by the label of the NMC policies. Each of them has different consequences in terms of subjectivity and sociability.

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Brazil, new middle class, social development, social rights, social mobility

Seidl, Gregor

Global or Peripheral Middle Classes? A Decolonial Perspective on the Formation of ‘New Middle Classes‘ in Ecuador

Sprache: ENGLISCHSeiten: 114-148https://doi.org/10.20446/JEP-2414-3197-33-4-114
  • Abstract
  • Literatur
  • Keywords

The article critically draws on the notion of a ‘global middle class’, presented by international development organisations as the alleged social core of a narrative which connects expectations of growth, redistribu- tion and political stability. By refuting this narrative as regards its ideological operations, an alternative theoretical concept of the peripheral middle class in a broad sense is suggested in order to detect real material class antagonisms as well as still existing structures of coloniality in Ecuador. With an examination of qualitative interviews collected in the country in 2015, the initial thesis of a peripheral middle class acting as a barrage against more radical projects of social transformation is outlined in more detail.

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Acosta, Alberto (2013b): El Buen Vivir. Sumak Kawsay, una oportunidad para imaginar otros mundos. Barcelona: Icaria Editorial.

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Banerjee, Abhijit V./Duflo, Esther (2008): What is Middle Class about the Middle Classes around the World? In: Journal of Economic Perspectives 22 (2), 3-28. https://doi.org/10.1257/jep.22.2.3

Becker, Marc (2013): The Stormy Relations between Rafael Correa and Social Move- ments in Ecuador. In: Latin American Perspectives 40 (3), 43-62.

https://doi.org/10.1177/0094582X13479305


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