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“Social Movements and Policy Entrenchment in Latin America”

September 29, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

About the presentation: A vast scholarship shows that social movements often play pivotal roles in bringing about policies that benefit marginalized groups. However, the role of social movements in entrenching those policies—ensuring they take root—remains insufficiently studied. We set a research agenda for the study of how social movements shape policy entrenchment by identifying three main strategies that social movements employ: populating state bureaucracies, engaging in pressure and persuasion tactics, and working in close linkage with political parties. We illustrate these strategies with examples from prominent social movements in Latin America that fought successfully to entrench transformative new policies: the health movement in Brazil, the unemployed workers movements in Argentina, and peasant and indigenous movements in Bolivia.

*Please note: Professor Rich is available to meet with students and faculty on Sept. 29 from 11-11:30am and after 1:30pm. Her work may be especially relevant to anyone interested in social movements, state-society relations, HIV/AIDS policy, participatory governance, and federalism. Please write to Saloni (bhogale@wisc.edu) by Monday, Sept. 26 if you would like to meet with her along with your availability.*

About the presenter: NAVE Visiting Scholar, Jessica A.J. Rich, is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Marquette University. Her research and teaching focus on activism, NGOs, bureaucracy, and public health. Regionally, she specializes in Latin America, with a focus on Brazil. Rich earned her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from the University of California, and she has held postdoctoral fellowships at Tulane University, in the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research, and at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Rich’s publications include articles on social movements, state capacity, health policy, participatory governance, and federalism. Her recently published book, State-Sponsored Activism: Bureaucrats and Social Movements in Democratic Brazil (Cambridge University Press 2019), explores how activist organizations maintain policy influence over time. Based on an ethnographic study of Brazil’s AIDS movement, it presents an innovative model of collaboration between state and society—civic corporatism—that allows advocacy groups to maintain relative political autonomy despite deep ties to government bureaucrats.