Argentina’s political and economic ups and downs of the last two decades have influenced social movements, policy, and socio-economic conditions of all residents. In the early 2000s, Argentina suffered from an economic depression, referred to as “the most severe emerging market crisis in history.” In 2002, at the peak of the crisis, the economy had shrunk by 28%, unemployment reached 23%, and more than 50% of Argentines lived in poverty. With the election of Nestor Kirchner in 2003, social policies were expanded and economic policy was restructured, effectively addressing the crisis. The economy recovered, and poverty and inequality declined. Since 2015 however, under the new government of Mauricio Macri, the economy started to struggle again. Inflation increased, the rate of economic growth slowed down, the currency depreciated, and unemployment and poverty increased (for a more detailed evaluation of Macri’s Legacy you can find an article by Michael Cohen here).
Social and employment policies have been crucial to the political and social organization of Argentina. Learning about the country’s political and social organization is key to understand Argentina as well as the Latin American region as a whole. In addition, popular sectors across the region have a vast and active trajectory in the collective defense and protection of basic rights, which in turn affect public policy and development more broadly.
This IFP seeks to build knowledge around the interaction of social policy and development in Argentina. Students have the opportunity to critically study these interactions, focusing on a diverse set of topics such as slum upgrading, human rights issues, social movements, educational policies, employment policies, or the role of the state in the global system. Research topics could explore questions such as: what policies proved particularly successful in reducing poverty, inequality, or unemployment? Why did inequality increase since 2015? How socially sustainable are slum upgrading projects? This type of research is key to understanding current challenges that Argentina and the region are facing, and the role that organizations and policies can play in mitigating global or regional shocks on democracy and equitable development.
The preparation during the spring semester will focus on establishing necessary theoretical background, identifying research fields, workshop ideas, and acquire necessary skills in preparation for the fieldwork.
The IFP’s main academic partner is the research center “Centro de Estudios de Ciudad (CEC)” in the Social Sciences school of the University of Buenos Aires. The CEC’s research focuses on social, economic, political, and cultural issues in urban areas, particularly metropolitan Buenos Aires.
One specific project that students will be working on is the slum upgrading initiative by the housing institute of Buenos Aires. As part of this project, students will conduct fieldwork and interviews in an informal settlement, on topics related to the economic situation of residents, perspectives of the upgrading initiative, migration, and the costs of becoming “formal”.
Objectives and Outcomes
The objective of the Argentina IFP in 2020 is to provide students with a unique research-oriented experience. Students will produce new knowledge on the impacts of social policy, its merits, and challenges, with the objective to promote quality research and student-led publications.
Applicants will be selected based on their research interests and their foreseen adaptability to a shifting context. Graduate and undergraduate students from other New School departments as well as from other universities are welcome to apply.
In order to be most effective when interacting with partner organizations or conducting research, some Spanish proficiency prior to the IFP is required.
Living in Buenos Aires
Students will live together in rented apartments in Buenos Aires. Due to its European influence, Buenos Aires is often referred to as the “Paris of Latin America.” There are plenty of beautiful cafés and restaurants, and although you will find the world’s best steak here, non-meat options are increasing as well. As Argentina is in the southern hemisphere, the IFP will take place in the winter, although the winter is much milder than New York’s, temperatures rarely fall below 10°C (50°F).
Contact Information: Michael Cohen