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From Social Exclusion to Social Cohesion: How the Piquetero Movement Achieved Social Policy Expansion in Post-Neoliberal Argentina Público

Argentina’s implementation of neoliberal economic policies in the 1990s caused unprecedented levels of poverty and unemployment. In the face of political and economic subordination, the working class and unemployed turned to collective action and formed the Piquetero movement, carrying out hundreds of protests between 1997 and 2007 to demand more inclusive social policies. To understand how this social movement became a legitimate vehicle for influencing Argentinian social policymaking, a rigorous literature review of scholarly articles and relevant quantitative data was conducted and three hypotheses were formulated. First, strong social cohesion within the movement made the protest activities highly organized and persistent. Second, the size and visibility of the protests made the movement impossible to ignore. Third, the democratic political structure of Argentina meant that meeting the demands of the movement was necessary for presidents to secure the vote for reelection. These findings highlight the importance of the social sphere in development discourse and emphasize the ability of social movements to influence government action. The Piquetero movement was an impressive demonstration for how to effectively assemble people in a democratic space to create immediate social change.

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