Latin America at a Crossroads. Alternative modernizations, post-liberalism, or post-development?
by ARTURO ESCOBAR
This paper examines the socio-economic, political, and cultural transformations that have been taking place in South America during the past ten years, particularly in Ecuador, Venezuela, and Bolivia. Whereas at the level of the states the transformations do not seem to venture beyond alternative forms of modernization, the discourses and strategies of some social movements suggest radical possibilities towards post-liberal, post-developmentalist, and post-capitalist social forms.
To entertain such a possibility requires that the transformations in question be seen in terms of a double conjuncture: the crisis of the neoliberal project of the past three decades; and the crisis of the project of bringing about modernity to the continent since the Conquest. At stake in many cultural-political mobilizations in Latin America, it is further argued, is the political activation of relational ontologies, such as those of indigenous peoples and Afro-descendents, which differ from the dualist ontologies of liberal modernity.
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