NATALUCCI Ana Laura
congresos y reuniones científicas
COVIDs effect on Southern Cone Democracies: Notes on the Role of Collective Action
ANA NATALUCCI; JUAN PABLO FERRERO; MARCOS PÉREZ
Congreso; 27th IPSA World Congress of Political Science; 2023
The COVID-19 crisis has had profound effects on democracy in Latin America, which will become more prominent in the coming years. In this paper, we describe a key mechanism that we think has played a crucial role in them: the mobilization of civic society groups in support or opposition of health-related government policies.Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and archival research carried out before and during the COVID pandemic, we outline the possible effects that the health emergency and associated economic disruption had on collective action in Argentina and Brazil. These two countries differed substantially in terms of government reactions (Brazil enacted limited restrictions, while Argentina imposed one of the strictest quarantines in the world), yet both experienced substantial polarization and protests surrounding health-related restrictions.We argue that collective action is a crucial element in determining whether the pandemic undermined or strengthened democracies in Latin America for three reasons. First, it tested the willingness of governments to tolerate protests that frequently challenged health regulations. Second, it served as a way for increasing political polarization to express itself in the streets, giving visibility to the intensification of pre-existing conflicts. Third, civil society groups functioned as one of the ways in which state actors could distribute resources and enforce regulations at the grassroots level.COVID-19 was a global crisis which disrupted social norms, political institutions, and economic activities worldwide. Understanding its effects on the still young Latin American democracies will be one of the main task of our disciplines in the near future. We contend that collective action is a central component of this crucial equation.