New Municipalism in South America? Developing theory from experiences in Argentina and Chile

Arpini, E., Panez, A., Cumbers, A. and Pearson, B. (2022) New Municipalism in South America? Developing theory from experiences in Argentina and Chile. Urban Studies, (doi: 10.1177/00420980221126269) (Early Online Publication)

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Working towards social transformation through forms of participatory and economic democracy is a core element of the new municipalist agenda. While utilising a ‘politics of proximity’ to develop citizen-led collectives in various forms and at various scales, these projects reimagine and reclaim the local state for social and ecological justice. However, much of the empirical literature that has fed into the development of this conceptualisation of new municipalism, while having a global ambition, has been based on European experiences. Thus, there are key questions around its applicability to other places, particularly in the Global South. South America has generated some of the emblematic cases of struggles against neoliberalism through reclaiming public services, from important interventions in reversing privatisations in the region to influential municipalist innovations, including participatory public policies such as participatory budgeting. This article seeks to critically interrogate new municipalism through an engagement with key social and political changes, state–civil society dynamics and political concepts in South America, illustrated with examples from municipal grassroots initiatives in Argentina and Chile. It argues that municipalism can be more extensively theorised by, first, engaging with a broader temporality than just moments of crisis; second, being attentive to the longer history of diverse participatory municipal initiatives in the region; and finally, incorporating the concept of territory (territorio in Spanish), which has emerged as a key dimension for understanding social transformations in the region.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was funded by a European Research Council grant.
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Pearson, Dr Bethia and Cumbers, Professor Andrew and Arpini, Emilia
Authors: Arpini, E., Panez, A., Cumbers, A., and Pearson, B.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Urban Studies
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1360-063X
Published Online:23 November 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 Urban Studies Journal Limited
First Published:First published in Urban Studies 2022
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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