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Other titles in the Latin America Otherwise: Languages, Empires, Nations series:
Contentious Lives: Two Argentine Women, Two Protests, and the Quest for Recognition (Latin America Otherwise)by Javier Auyero
Synopses & Reviews
Contentious Lives examines the ways popular protests are experienced and remembered, individually and collectively, by those who participate in them. Javier Auyero focuses on the roles of two young women, Nana and Laura, in uprisings in Argentina (the two-day protest in the northwestern city of Santiago del Estero in 1993 and the six-day road blockade in the southern oil towns of Cutral-co and Plaza Huincul in 1996) and the roles of the protests in their lives. Laura was the spokesperson of the picketers in Cutral-co and Plaza Huincul; Nana was an activist in the 1993 protests. In addition to exploring the effects of these episodes on their lives, Auyero considers how each woman's experiences shaped what she said and did during the uprisings, and later, the ways she recalled the events. While the protests were responses to the consequences of political corruption and structural adjustment policies, they were also, as Nana’s and Laura’s stories reveal, quests for recognition, respect, and dignity.
Auyero reconstructs Nana’s and Laura’s biographies through oral histories and diaries. Drawing on interviews with many other protesters, newspaper articles, judicial records, government reports, and video footage, he provides sociological and historical context for their stories. The women’s accounts reveal the frustrations of lives overwhelmed by gender domination, the deprivations brought about by hyper-unemployment and the withering of the welfare component of the state, and the achievements and costs of collective action. Balancing attention to large-scale political and economic processes with acknowledgment of the plurality of meanings emanating from personal experiences, Contentious Lives is an insightful, penetrating, and timely contribution to discussions of popular resistance and the combined effects of globalization, neoliberal economic policies, and political corruption in Argentina and elsewhere.
An oral history of popular protest in today's Argentina.
About the Author
”Contentious Lives dares to present the lives of two women who lived hard times but at a certain moment plunged into popular movements and then had to bear the consequences of their participation, to make sense of what they had done, and to fashion new relations with other people. The two women have entrusted Javier Auyero with stories few others would want to see in print: stories of suffering, indiscretion, indecision, bitterness, regret, and passion.”—Charles Tilly, Columbia University
”Javier Auyero proves that you can go home again—and that with the proper experience elsewhere you can see more than you would have noticed if you had never left. Returning to his native Argentina as a sympathetic, well trained observer of political conflict, he shows us how intense personal lives and passionate political participation connect with each other. Auyero tells stories of Argentinian political and economic crises from an entirely fresh perspective.”—Viviana Zelizer, Princeton University
What Our Readers Are Saying
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