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Poverty politics in Contemporary Latin America: Comparative and Critical Views

Poverty politics in Contemporary Latin America: Comparative and Critical Views

CROP session at the second conference of the Norwegian Latin American Research Network (NorLARNet).

26-27 October, 2011 / Bergen, Norway

NorLARNet was established in 2008 with the support of the Research Council of Norway. It forms a part of a strategy initiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Research and Education to establish a permanent environment for the strengthening of knowledge about Latin America in Norway.

“Poverty politics in contemporary Latin America: comparative and critical views” was the title of a panel organized by CROP within the Norlarnet Conference 2011 held in October in Bergen, Norway. Researchers of CROPNet discussed the complex relationships between social policies, cash transfers and elite perceptions on poverty and the poor.


The meeting was chaired by Einar Braathen who presented an analysis on Brazilian policy on poverty reduction that questioned the sustainability of the model it is based on. Felipe J. Hevia then made a comparative analysis of the Brazilian and Mexican cases of implementation of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Programs. Hevia described how Brazil has been attempting to universalize some social policies and the specific operation of Bolsa Familia in the complex political, economic, and social reality of this huge country. He contrasted the Brazilian reality with the Mexican one, signaling that the hegemony of targeting practices in the latter along with the political fragility and the lack of a coordinated social policy have been reinforcing the centrality of the Oportunidades program in fighting poverty in Mexico.


Finally, Line N. Sundt Næsse focused on elite perceptions of poverty and how they relate to democracy in Paraguay. According to the results of her field work, the elite’s perception of demands of rights and consumption by the poor pose a huge challenge to democratic consolidation in that country. Presentations were followed by a Q&A session.


After the session, members of the panel and the CROP Secretariat considered the possibility of creating a Working Group focused on contemporary research on poverty politics and social policy. The Secretariat is collaborating with the panelists and other interested parties in the development of a work plan for the Working Group, which will be formally launched in 2012, probably in the context of a workshop on the same subject.  

Visit the conference website for more information.



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