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Dealing with Poverty: Change and Continuity in Argentine Social Policies
Unformatted Document Text:  not be understood as a universalization of benefits. Then, I will contrast this evidence with the MDS’ institutional discourse. According to it, the new social question is established in terms of a new connection between the social and the economic, and the goals of redistribution and integration. The role of social policies, then, would be the creation of employment/integration and local socio-economic development. I will argue that this discourse expresses a symbolic emphasis in direct opposition to the priorities expressed on the system of social policies as a whole. In the second section, I will analyze the introduction of new perspectives on social policies as embedded in the third main plan of the MDS, “Shoulder to the Wheel” (MO), in the area of social economy and local development, and as the one that best fits with the kind of goals advanced by the MDS’ discourse. I will reconstruct the main elements that inform the perspective of social economy, emphasizing its root in both academic arenas and bottom-up associative strategies by unemployed workers in order to deal with social reproduction during the last 15 years and especially during the crisis of 2001-2002. I will contend that, as a partial translation of an already existing strategy of social integration, the socio-economic turn in social policies would express an alternative state intervention -beyond traditional regimes of welfare and neoliberal compensatory policies- that represents a potential for democratization of economy as well as an ambitious political program regarding the relations between state and popular sectors. In spite of the favorable economic context in which this policy is being implemented, however, I will conclude by analyzing the limitations faced by the socio- economic turn related to the inherited state features in different dimensions and to the inherited shared cultural frameworks characterizing the relationship between state and popular sectors, on the part of both state officials and vulnerable social groups. In considering these limitations, I will suggest a hypothetical explanation for the slight pervasiveness of the socio-economic turn in social policy orientation as well as for the still strong pervasiveness of assistentialism 3 . I. Towards a new articulation between the economy and the social 3 I have translated the concept “asistencialismo” as assistentialism, but this word does not exist in English. It refers to a conceptual orientation of social policies based on the separation between regimes of Social Assistance and regimes of Social Prevision. This separation, in turn, results in the construction of the former as a stigmatized and stigmatizing policy area. Within the framework of assistentialism, the social problem is “the poor”, not inequality or poverty, and state interventions are signified as personified moral acts, not as institutional expressions of a socially validated moral order. On the concept of assitentialism see Grassi (2003).

Authors: Perelmiter, Luisina.
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not be understood as a universalization of benefits. Then, I will contrast this evidence with the
MDS’ institutional discourse. According to it, the new social question is established in terms of
a new connection between the social and the economic, and the goals of redistribution and
integration. The role of social policies, then, would be the creation of employment/integration
and local socio-economic development. I will argue that this discourse expresses a symbolic
emphasis in direct opposition to the priorities expressed on the system of social policies as a
whole.
In the second section, I will analyze the introduction of new perspectives on social policies as
embedded in the third main plan of the MDS, “Shoulder to the Wheel” (MO), in the area of
social economy and local development, and as the one that best fits with the kind of goals
advanced by the MDS’ discourse. I will reconstruct the main elements that inform the
perspective of social economy, emphasizing its root in both academic arenas and bottom-up
associative strategies by unemployed workers in order to deal with social reproduction during
the last 15 years and especially during the crisis of 2001-2002. I will contend that, as a partial
translation of an already existing strategy of social integration, the socio-economic turn in
social policies would express an alternative state intervention -beyond traditional regimes of
welfare and neoliberal compensatory policies- that represents a potential for democratization of
economy as well as an ambitious political program regarding the relations between state and
popular sectors. In spite of the favorable economic context in which this policy is being
implemented, however, I will conclude by analyzing the limitations faced by the socio-
economic turn related to the inherited state features in different dimensions and to the inherited
shared cultural frameworks characterizing the relationship between state and popular sectors,
on the part of both state officials and vulnerable social groups. In considering these limitations,
I will suggest a hypothetical explanation for the slight pervasiveness of the socio-economic
turn in social policy orientation as well as for the still strong pervasiveness of assistentialism
.
I. Towards a new articulation between the economy and the social
3
I have translated the concept “asistencialismo” as assistentialism, but this word does not exist in English. It
refers to a conceptual orientation of social policies based on the separation between regimes of Social Assistance
and regimes of Social Prevision. This separation, in turn, results in the construction of the former as a stigmatized
and stigmatizing policy area. Within the framework of assistentialism, the social problem is “the poor”, not
inequality or poverty, and state interventions are signified as personified moral acts, not as institutional
expressions of a socially validated moral order. On the concept of assitentialism see Grassi (2003).


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