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The Circuit of Detachment in Chile: Understanding the Fate of a Neoliberal Laboratory

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Article
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The results of a qualitative study on the daily life of grassroots retail union leaders in Chile are presented. A conceptual framework was used that articulates the Social Psychology of Work and the socio-phenomenological perspective. Group and individual interviews were carried out with 27 union leaders from the cities of Antofagasta, Santiago and Concepción. The empirical material was analyzed from a qualitative content analysis approach. The results show five axes of meanings and practices that configure the plot of the daily life of the union leaders: The distance from the traditional political parties, the well-being and dignity as a horizon of the union action, the store as a key space for the various actions of the leaders, the high demand and questioning they receive from the workers, and the orientation to the dialogue with the company. These meanings and practices are discussed in light of the characteristics of the retail industry, and in relation to the current debate on structural crisis and revitalization of unionism under neoliberalism in Chile.
Technical Report
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In 2019, half of the Chilean workers earn less than 401,000 Chilean pesos (around US$516 at the time of the survey). This report presents a detailed panorama of the Chilean wages using the last data of the National Income Survey (ESI 2019, microdata released in October 2020). It can be seen how are the wages at different points in the distribution (percentile 50, 70 and 80) and in different dimensions (regions, economic sectors, precarious workers, etc.). The report is part of the "Verdaderos Sueldos de Chile" research series paper.
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La profunda transformación neoliberal experimentada por la sociedad chilena arrasó con buena parte del entramado social del siglo XX, trastocando los basamentos de los viejos grupos sociales y alterando incluso la forma de apreciar el panorama social. Amparado primero en el autoritarismo militar y luego en los excluyentes términos de la transición, el giro neoliberal terminó pariendo una nueva fisonomía de la sociedad chilena. De las entrañas de este proceso es que, en la última década, irrumpe un malestar protagonizado por franjas medias, ampliamente extendido y alejado del clivaje dictadura-democracia. Es demostración del desgaste de la celebrada “gobernabilidad democrática”, pero también síntoma de una crisis de representación que cruza todo el espectro político. ¿Cuánto hay de efímero y cuánto de trascendente en este agitado curso? ¿Anidan en esta conflictividad nuevas identidades sociales y, con ellas, la posibilidad de la formación de bases sociales de una nueva política? El propósito de estas páginas es indagar en las modalidades de alianzas y conflictos que se producen bajo este peculiar “neoliberalismo avanzado”. Una lectura interesada, por cierto, que busca sortear los decretos de la intelectualidad cortesana para advertir en el fondo de la sociedad sus mutaciones más trascendentes y, en especial, las posibilidades de arranque de un nuevo ciclo histórico. Este libro se distribuye bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución-CompartirIgual 4.0 Internacional. Puede ser distribuido, copiado y exhibido libremente por terceros, mostrando los créditos correspondientes. Esta permitido crear y distribuir obras derivadas bajo la misma licencia que el original.
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Este análisis tiene un doble objetivo. En primer lugar, buscamos analizar en qué medida los chilenos valoran y/o prefieren la democracia versus otras formas de gobierno, así como la evaluación concreta que tienen del funcionamiento de la democracia en el país. Esta también es fundamental para Chile: uno de los procesos políticos más relevantes de las últimas décadas en el país ha sido la transición y consolidación de la democracia (Linz y Stepan, 1996). Si bien algunos estudios comparados a nivel regional destacan la trayectoria exitosa de la democracia chilena, otros identifican serias limitaciones en su diseño institucional y las acciones subsecuentes de las élites políticas (Huneeus, 2014; Garretón y Garretón, 2010). En segundo término, también interesa saber cómo se orientan los chilenos hacia la esfera política; esto es, cuánto apego sienten hacia la política, en qué medida la política les atrae e interesa y forma parte de sus vidas cotidianas, y hasta qué punto confían y se identifican con los actores políticos e institucionales. Lo anterior es relevante porque durante los últimos años la literatura y la discusión pública han enfatizado el escaso y decreciente apego de los chilenos hacia la política (Huneeus, 1998; Joignant, 2003; Silva, 2004; Madrid, 2006; Carlin, 2006; Luna y Altman, 2011). Aquí se presenta un diagnóstico bastante más complejo.
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Según investigaciones recientes, una característica central de la sociedad chilena es su mesocratización, es decir, el crecimiento sostenido de la clase media. En este artículo se prueba empíricamente dicha tesis. A partir del modelo de clases de Erik O. Wright y la técnica del análisis de la porción de cambio (shift-share analysis), se estudiaron los cambios en la estructura de clases chilena en los períodos de 1992 a 2003 y de 2003 a 2013, y se concluye que la idea de mesocratización es cuestionable. Entre 1992 y 2013, el número de personas ubicadas en posiciones de clase media es sustantivamente inferior al de personas de clases populares (clase trabajadora y de autoempleados informales). Además, el crecimiento de la clase media ha sido relativamente marginal y ha estado acompañado de tendencias que contradicen la idea de una sociedad mesocrática (por ejemplo, el crecimiento de la clase trabajadora entre 2003 y 2013).
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RESUMEN El objetivo de este artículo es discutir el trabajo que desarrollan los individuos para sostenerse en la vida social, centrándose en la cuestión de los “anclaje socio-existenciales”, y en particular en un tipo de estos: las expectativas de futuro. Luego de una revisión del debate teórico y basándose sobre los resultados de una investigación empírica cualitativa para el caso de Chile, el texto analiza la manera en que en la sociedad chilena la figura de la ida al Sur-Campo se constituye como fundamento de estas expectativas de futuro y actúa como ancla para las existencias sociales. Este análisis permitirá argumentar que los “anclaje socio-existenciales” son activos en los individuos concretos pero son socialmente compartidos y pueden ser entendidos como una respuesta, con matices según grupo social, a la vez singular y general, a las exigencias estructurales a las que se está expuesto en un momento histórico determinado.
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This chapter explores relations between discontent, social movements, and collective protest in Chile. I define discontent broadly as a feeling of discomfort with some aspect of the world, a definition that encompasses dissatisfaction with one’s personal economic situation or distrust in political authorities through to the perception of abuse by a powerful actor. By collective protest, I refer to any action between two or more people in a public setting that seeks to affect the social world, either by changing or preserving some aspect of it, through “non-institutional” tactics that may range from signing a petition to marching in the street, blocking roads, or occupying private or public buildings (Meyer 2007; Taylor and Van Dyke 2007). Finally, social movements are networks of people that use protest tactics in a bid to change or preserve some aspect of society.
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In spite of the high prevalence of mental health disorders in Chile, there is a significant financing deficit in this area when compared to the world’s average. The financing for mental health has not increased in accordance with the objectives proposed in the 2000 Chilean National Mental Health and Psychiatry Plan, and only three of the six mental health priorities proposed by this plan have secure financial coverage. The National Health Strategy for the Fulfilment of Health Objectives for the decade 2011-2020 acknowledges that mental disorders worsen the quality of life, increase the risk of physical illness, and have a substantial economic cost for the country. Thus, this article focuses on the importance of investing in mental health, the cost of not doing so, and the need for local mental health research. The article discusses how the United States is trying to eliminate the financial discrimination suffered by patients with mental health disorders, and concludes with public policy recommendations for Chile.
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Resumen Este artículo muestra el cambio en la estructura social en Chile durante las últimas cuatro décadas, y caracteriza, por un lado, la pérdida de eficacia de las políticas públicas destinadas a mejorar las oportunidades de vida dada la menor movilidad social en el seno de los sectores populares y las clases medias y, por otro, el aumen-to de la distancia entre los polos de la estructura social. Se plantean desafíos para un país rentista por excelencia, que se enfrenta a la reforma de su sistema tributa-rio como solución a la persistencia y aumento de las desigualdades. Abstract This paper describes the changes in the Chilean social structure over the past four decades, and characterizes, on the one hand, the loss of effectiveness of public policies that aimed at improving the life chances for social mobility for the poor and the middle classes and, on the other, the increasing distance between the poles of the social structure. Challenges for a rent-seeker country par excellence are exposed, particularly those related to a reform of the tax system as a solution to the persistent and growing inequality.
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La disputa por la construcción democrática en América Latina se produce en torno a proyectos políticos que orientan la acción tanto de los actores civiles como de los políticos. Hay tres proyectos principales en disputa: el democrático-participativo, el neoliberal-democrático y el autoritario, en diversas variantes. Estos proyectos cruzan las fronteras imaginarias entre la sociedad civil y el Estado, que en la práctica no existen o son secundarias. El Estado no es un aparato homogéneo, sino una suma heterogénea de instituciones y prácticas que reflejan múltiples correlaciones de fuerza del pasado y del presente. Empíricamente, el traslape entre sociedad civil y Estado se puede observar en las trayectorias de los líderes civiles-políticos, quienes portan los proyectos.
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Scholars have usually understood the problem of democratic consolidation in terms of the creation of mechanisms that make possible the avoidance of populist excesses, polarized conflicts, or authoritarian corporatist inclusion that undermined free politics in much of postwar Latin America. This article makes the case that, under contemporary liberal economic conditions, the nature of the challenge for democratization has changed in important ways. Earlier problems of polarization had their roots in the long-present statist patterns of economic organization. By contrast, under free-market conditions, democratic consolidation faces a largely distinct set of challenges: the underarticulation of societal interests, pervasive social atomization, and socially uneven political quiescence founded in collective action problems. These can combine to undermine the efficacy of democratic representation and, consequently, regime legitimacy. The article utilizes data from the Latin American region since the 1970s on development, economic reform, and individual and collective political participation to show the effects of a changing state-economy relationship on the consolidation of democratic politics.
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Existing literature emphasizes the disorganizing or weakening effects of economic liberalization on civil society, whereby free-market policies are said to demobilize and depoliticize collective actors. The article evaluates the effects of economic liberalization on large-scale societal mobilizations across seventeen Latin American countries for the period 1970–2000. The article further tests the effects of economic liberalization on individual political participation across sixteen Latin American countries for the period 1980–2000. In contrast to the atomization literature, this article provides strong evidence that economic liberalization leads to greater levels of societal mobilization in the context of free-market democratization. The article also demonstrates that economic liberalization does not induce a decline in political participation. Collectively, these results cast doubt on the theoretical underpinnings and empirical findings presented in Kurtz (2004).
Book
Die Soziologie der Menschenregierungskünste beobachtet Gesellschaft als Arrangement von Selbst- und Fremdführungsstrategien. In seinem neuen Buch analysiert Ulrich Bröckling übergreifende Handlungsorientierungen wie Planung, Prävention und Resilienz, Verfahren der Konfliktbearbeitung, kommunikative Technologien, Programme der Kontraktpädagogik sowie Konzepte subtiler Verhaltenslenkung, wie sie etwa unter dem Label des »Nudging« propagiert werden. Auf Krisen sozialer Integration reagieren diese Methoden mit der Stärkung von Selbststeuerungspotenzialen. Statt auf Zwang oder Strafmaßnahmen setzen sie auf Kontextsteuerung und kybernetische Rückkopplungsschleifen.
Book
Este libro se interesa por lo que cada cual vive en las calles de Santiago de Chile. En un movimiento doble busca indagar la manera en que los rasgos de la condición histórica actual se expresan en las calles, al mismo tiempo que establece lo que las calles, por medio de diversas experiencias, aportan a las formas en que se perfilan tanto las relaciones sociales como los individuos y la imagen de la sociedad en la que viven: sus conflictos, sus heridas, sus lazos, sus lógicas. Es una invitación a recorrer las calles de Santiago de la mano de jóvenes mujeres, migrantes, adultas mayores, comerciantes ambulantes, residentes de barrios tradicionales, habitantes de las zonas ricas de la ciudad, viajeros del metro y tantos y tantas más. Es un recorrido necesariamente incompleto, inevitablemente parcial, que, no obstante, diseña la diversidad de las distintas calles, sus cualidades particulares, construyendo la imagen de un Santiago caleidoscópico. Un retrato multifacético del universo de las calles santiaguinas para echar luz, simultáneamente, sobre la singularidad de los trayectos, las formas que toman las sociabilidades, los personajes que en él se encuentran y las interacciones que lo atraviesan. Un medio para compartir con el o la lectora nuestros hallazgos sobre las maneras violentas, gozosas, retraídas o expansivas en que estas calles son habitadas, pero, también, sobre lo que transversalmente las afecta: fenómenos estructurales que trastocan la experiencia de lo común; coerciones que amenazan la libertad durante el tránsito por ellas; desigualdades interactivas que socavan el enlazamiento social. En la articulación de distintas miradas, habla de las calles de Santiago desde una misma sensibilidad: la preocupación por el destino de lo común y de la igualdad en la ciudad. Este libro es resultado de una investigación empírica desarrollada entre 2016 y 2018. Sus capítulos son escritos por diferentes miembros del equipo de investigación aparte de la editora: Brenda Valenzuela, Camila Andrade, Claudia Pérez Bravo, Felipe Ulloa, Jennifer Concha, Miguel Barrientos, Moisés Godoy, Ramundo Frei.
Book
«No lo vimos venir», afirmaron muchas personas luego del 18 de octubre. Para Carlos Ruiz, esta declaración no es sino una reacción de la élite, que miró con estupor todo lo que vino durante los días posteriores a la revuelta social. Sin embargo, el estallido no solo fue la furia. Trajo consigo algo mayor, asegura el sociólogo y autor de este libro: el surgimiento de un nuevo pueblo.
Book
This Element introduces the concept of institutional weakness, arguing that weakness or strength is a function of the extent to which an institution actually matters to social, economic or political outcomes. It then presents a typology of three forms of institutional weakness: insignificance, in which rules are complied with but do not affect the way actors behave; non-compliance, in which state elites either choose not to enforce the rules or fail to gain societal cooperation with them; and instability, in which the rules are changed at an unusually high rate. The Element then examines the sources of institutional weakness.
Book
Neoliberalism--the doctrine that market exchange is an ethic in itself, capable of acting as a guide for all human action--has become dominant in both thought and practice throughout much of the world since 1970 or so. Writing for a wide audience, David Harvey, author of The New Imperialism and The Condition of Postmodernity, here tells the political-economic story of where neoliberalization came from and how it proliferated on the world stage. Through critical engagement with this history, he constructs a framework, not only for analyzing the political and economic dangers that now surround us, but also for assessing the prospects for the more socially just alternatives being advocated by many oppositional movements.
Book
This book argues that - in terms of institutional design, the allocation of power and privilege, and the lived experiences of citizens - democracy often does not restart the political game after displacing authoritarianism. Democratic institutions are frequently designed by the outgoing authoritarian regime to shield incumbent elites from the rule of law and give them an unfair advantage over politics and the economy after democratization. Authoritarianism and the Elite Origins of Democracy systematically documents and analyzes the constitutional tools that outgoing authoritarian elites use to accomplish these ends, such as electoral system design, legislative appointments, federalism, legal immunities, constitutional tribunal design, and supermajority thresholds for change. The study provides wide-ranging evidence for these claims using data that spans the globe and dates from 1800 to the present. Albertus and Menaldo also conduct detailed case studies of Chile and Sweden. In doing so, they explain why some democracies successfully overhaul their elite-biased constitutions for more egalitarian social contracts. Brings a new approach to one of the most important topics in politics: the origins of democracy and its consequences Covers a broad historical and geographic scope, presenting data on and discusses political regimes throughout the world since 1800 Uses state of the art quantitative (statistical) and qualitative (process tracing) methods. © Michael Albertus and Victor Menaldo 2018. All rights reserved.
Book
¿Existe el llamado "malestar chileno"? ¿Ha habido en Chile, sobre todo a partir de 2011, una confluencia real de hechos que justifique que buena parte de los líderes políticos y de opinión, la sociedad en general y hasta observadores internacionales, sostengan que la gente está pidiendo un cambio radical en la manera de organizar el país? La respuesta a esas preguntas es el centro de este libro. Mientras, por un lado, la población parece satisfecha con los índices de desarrollo alcanzados y optimista sobre el futuro, por otra parte se ha instalado la idea de una crisis estructural, supuestamente provocada por el agotamiento de dos "modelos": el económico y el político. Según Oppliger y Guzmán, un pilar clave de ese análisis ha sido la pobre respuesta del mundo político oficialista y opositor (aunque también de otros actores sociales e institucionales) a los desafíos de la actualidad reciente, en especial las protestas de 2011 y comienzos de 2012. A través del examen de datos, percepciones y tendencias –y de una mirada a la experiencia histórica de Chile– los autores argumentan que, en lo esencial, quienes suscriben esa tesis equivocan el diagnóstico y prescriben remedios probadamente ineficaces, cuando no perjudiciales. El pretendido malestar social, afirman Oppliger y Guzmán, es una lectura ideológicamente sesgada de la realidad chilena. El peligro de aceptarla como única interpretación posible es que el país no entienda cuáles son sus verdaderos problemas ni, por ende, cuáles son las soluciones que necesita.
Article
The roots of today's Great Recession are usually located in the financial excesses of the 1990s. Wolfgang Streeck traces a much longer arc, from 1945 onwards, of tensions between the logic of markets and the wishes of voters-culminating, he argues, in the international tempest of debt that now threatens to submerge democratic accountability altogether beneath the storm-waves of capital.
Book
“Some books describe the neoliberal project using the neoliberals' own terms; others promote more profound understanding by bringing in other intellectual resources. Will Davies is one of the best of the latter. In this fascinating book he inverts the conventional neoliberal practice of treating politics as if it were mere epiphenomenon of market theory, demonstrating that their version of economics is far better understood as the pursuit of politics by other means.” - Professor Philip Mirowski, University of Notre Dame “Writing with clarity and precision and drawing on a rich array of sources, Will Davies takes the sociological discussion of neo-liberalism, its past and possible futures, to newer and richer intellectual realms.” - Professor Paul du Gay, Copenhagen Business School “A sparkling, original, and provocative analysis of neoliberalism. It offers a distinctive account of the diverse, sometimes contradictory, conventions and justifications that lend authority to the cumulative extension of competitive market principles and the spirit of competitiveness to all spheres of social life and that provide it with room for manoeuvre and reinvention in the face of resistance and crisis.” - Professor Bob Jessop, University of Lancaster “In a world that seems to lurch from one financial crisis to the next, this book questions both the sovereignty of markets and the principles of competition and competitiveness that lie at the heart of the neoliberal project. This is a brilliant piece of work and is essential reading for anyone interested in the politics and economics of contemporary capitalism.” - Professor Nicholas Gane, University of Warwick Since its intellectual inception in the 1930s and its political emergence in the 1970s, neo-liberalism has sought to disenchant politics by replacing it with economics. This agenda-setting text examines the efforts and failures of economic experts to make government and public life amenable to measurement, and to re-model society and state in terms of competition. In particular, it explores the practical use of economic techniques and conventions by policy-makers, politicians, regulators and judges and how these practices are being adapted to the perceived failings of the neoliberal model. By picking apart the defining contradiction that arises from the conflation of economics and politics, this book asks: to what extent can economics provide government legitimacy?
Article
Although politics at the elite level has been polarized for some time, a scholarly controversy has raged over whether ordinary Americans are polarized. This book argues that they are and that the reason is growing polarization of worldviews – what guides people's view of right and wrong and good and evil. These differences in worldview are rooted in what Marc J. Hetherington and Jonathan D. Weiler describe as authoritarianism. They show that differences of opinion concerning the most provocative issues on the contemporary issue agenda – about race, gay marriage, illegal immigration, and the use of force to resolve security problems – reflect differences in individuals’ levels of authoritarianism. This makes authoritarianism an especially compelling explanation of contemporary American politics. Events and strategic political decisions have conspired to make all these considerations more salient. The authors demonstrate that the left and the right have coalesced around these opposing worldviews, which has provided politics with more incandescent hues than before.
Book
As one of the most prestigious high schools in the nation, St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, has long been the exclusive domain of America's wealthiest sons. But times have changed. Today, a new elite of boys and girls is being molded at St. Paul's, one that reflects the hope of openness but also the persistence of inequality. In Privilege, Shamus Khan returns to his alma mater to provide an inside look at an institution that has been the private realm of the elite for the past 150 years. He shows that St. Paul's students continue to learn what they always have--how to embody privilege. Yet, while students once leveraged the trappings of upper-class entitlement, family connections, and high culture, current St. Paul's students learn to succeed in a more diverse environment. To be the future leaders of a more democratic world, they must be at ease with everything from highbrow art to everyday life--from Beowulf to Jaws--and view hierarchies as ladders to scale. Through deft portrayals of the relationships among students, faculty, and staff, Khan shows how members of the new elite face the opening of society while still preserving the advantages that allow them to rule.
Article
The sociological study of individuation processes in modern occidental societies has mobilized the thesis of institutional individualism as a key concept. This article argues that this thesis may not be appropriate to understand societies with different cultural traditions and institutional practices. Based upon the results of qualitative research conducted in Chile the article discusses the existence of a specific path to individuation in this society. The data show the analytical preeminence within the individuation process in Chile of a group of competences that must be generated and developed in confronting social life itself. Individuation leads in Chile to the constitution of relational hyper-actors based upon four dimensions: self-effort, abilities, interpersonal relationships and pragmatic consistency. This is what we propose to understand as agentic individualism.
Book
This book argues that Latin America has a distinctive, enduring form of hierarchical capitalism characterized by multinational corporations, diversified business groups, low skills and segmented labor markets. Over time, institutional complementarities knit features of corporate governance and labor markets together and thus contribute to institutional resiliency. Political systems generally favored elites and insiders who further reinforced existing institutions and complementarities. Hierarchical capitalism has not promoted rising productivity, good jobs or equitable development, and the efficacy of development strategies to promote these outcomes depends on tackling negative institutional complementarities. This book is intended to open a new debate on the nature of capitalism in Latin America and link that discussion to related research on comparative capitalism in other parts of the world.
Article
Opposition to economic liberalization has intensified since the late 1990s, with Latin America often standing at the forefront of new social and political movements that challenge market globalization. The revival of social protest and populist or leftist political alternatives has shattered the technocratic consensus around neoliberal policies in the region. By demanding an expanded set of social citizenship rights, these movements are also contesting the terms under which popular sectors were reincorporated politically under the new democratic regimes of the 1980s. This "second" historical process of mass political incorporation differs in fundamental ways from that associated with the process of labor incorporation in the first half of the twentieth century. It is marked by a more pluralistic set of social subjects, a more decentralized organizational structure, and more fluid patterns of institutional development. Existing scholarship often fails to explain variation in the patterns of social and political mobilization, due to both methodological and theoretical limitations - in particular, a tendency to focus on outcomes with little variation on the dependent variable, and a failure to engage theoretically with the literature on social fragmentation and demobilization. There is thus a need to problematize the process of mobilization by conducting more rigorous comparative research on a broader range of social responses to market liberalization.
Article
The aim of this article is to analyse the links between the moral and political aspects of neo-liberal ideology and how appeals to certain ethics may legitimate the establishment of the institutions of neo-liberal capitalism through political action. It presents the original characteristics of neo-liberal ideology by emphasizing how it differs from classical liberalism. Although pressures and contradictions are inherent in neo-liberalism, it is possible to single out some of its most original characteristics which are far more vital to the analysis of capitalism than vague and commonplace notions such as “market fundamentalism”. It also describes those moral aspects of neo-liberalism which differ from traditional morals and place the ethos of competitiveness at the centre of social life. It shows how the morals of neo-liberalism are linked to neo-liberal politics and policies. Freed in part from public sovereignty, neo-liberal politics must be guided by a moral imperative linked to competition. This paper reveals the consequences of these morals and politics for the definition of social policy. A contract based on reciprocity between the individual and society is substituted for collective rights to social protection and redistribution. This change in perspective is particularly important for the social policy advocated by the “modern” left.
El miedo a los subordinados: una teoría de la autoridad
  • Kathya Araujo
Interactive inequalities and equality in the social bond: a sociological study of equality
  • Kathya Araujo