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Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism? Welfare State Development in 18 Latin American Countries, 1995-2010

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Much research has been devoted to identifying trends in either convergence upon a neoliberal model or divergence among welfare states in connection to globalization, but most research has focused on advanced industrialized countries. This has limited our understanding of the

Much research has been devoted to identifying trends in either convergence upon a neoliberal model or divergence among welfare states in connection to globalization, but most research has focused on advanced industrialized countries. This has limited our understanding of the current state of convergence or divergence, especially among welfare states in developing regions. To address this research gap and contribute to the broader convergence vs. divergence debate, this research explores welfare state variation found within Latin America, in terms of the health policy domain, through the use of cross-national data from 18 countries collected between the period of 1995 to 2010 and the application of a series of descriptive and regression analysis techniques. Analyses revealed divergence within Latin America in the form of three distinct welfare states, and that among these welfare states income inequality, trust in traditional public institutions, and democratization, are significantly related to welfare state type and health performance.

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2014-05

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Toward sustainable governance of water resources: the case of Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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Research shows that many water governance regimes are failing to guide social-ecological systems away from points, beyond which, damage to social and environmental well-being will be difficult to correct. This problem is apparent in regions that face water conflicts and

Research shows that many water governance regimes are failing to guide social-ecological systems away from points, beyond which, damage to social and environmental well-being will be difficult to correct. This problem is apparent in regions that face water conflicts and climate threats. There remains a need to clarify what is it about governance that people need to change in water conflict prone regions, how to collectively go about doing that, and how research can actively support this. To address these needs, here I present a collaborative research project from the dry tropics of Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica. The project addressed the overarching questions: How can water be governed sustainably in water-contested and climate-threatened regions? And, how can people transition current water governance regimes toward more sustainable ones? In pursuit of these questions, a series of individual studies were performed with many partners and collaborators. These studies included: a participatory analysis and sustainability assessment of current water governance regimes; a case analysis and comparison of water conflicts; constructing alternative governance scenarios; and, developing governance transition strategies. Results highlight the need for water governance that addresses asymmetrical knowledge gaps especially concerning groundwater resources, reconciles disenfranchised groups, and supports local leaders. Yet, actions taken based on these initial results, despite some success influencing policy, found substantial challenges confronting them. In-depth conflict investigations, for example, found that deeply rooted issues such friction between opposing local-based and national institutions were key conflict drivers in the region. To begin addressing these issues, researchers and stakeholders then constructed a set of governing alternatives and devised governance transition strategies that could actively support people to achieve more sustainable alternatives and avoid less sustainable ones. These efforts yielded insight into the collective actions needed to implement more sustainable water governance regimes, including ways to overcoming barriers that drive harmful water conflicts. Actions based on these initial strategies yielded further opportunities, challenges, and lessons. Overall, the project addresses the research and policy gap between identifying what is sustainable water governance and understanding the strategies needed to implement it successfully in regions that experience water conflict and climate impacts.

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2014

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Residence in a deprived urban food environment: food access, affordability, and quality in a Paraguayan food desert

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Food deserts are the collection of deprived food environments and limit local residents from accessing healthy and affordable food. This dissertation research in San Lorenzo, Paraguay tests if the assumptions about food deserts in the Global North are also relevant

Food deserts are the collection of deprived food environments and limit local residents from accessing healthy and affordable food. This dissertation research in San Lorenzo, Paraguay tests if the assumptions about food deserts in the Global North are also relevant to the Global South. In the Global South, the recent growth of supermarkets is transforming local food environments and may worsen residential food access, such as through emerging more food deserts globally. This dissertation research blends the tools, theories, and frameworks from clinical nutrition, public health, and anthropology to identify the form and impact of food deserts in the market city of San Lorenzo, Paraguay. The downtown food retail district and the neighborhood food environment in San Lorenzo were mapped to assess what stores and markets are used by residents. The food stores include a variety of formal (supermarkets) and informal (local corner stores and market vendors) market sources. Food stores were characterized using an adapted version of the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey for Stores (NEMS-S) to measure store food availability, affordability, and quality. A major goal in this dissertation was to identify how and why residents select a type of food store source over another using various ethnographic interviewing techniques. Residential store selection was linked to the NEMS-S measures to establish a connection between the objective quality of the local food environment, residential behaviors in the local food environment, and nutritional health status. Using a sample of 68 households in one neighborhood, modeling suggested the quality of local food environment does effect weight (measure as body mass index), especially for those who have lived longer in poorer food environments. More generally, I find that San Lorenzo is a city-wide food desert, suggesting that research needs to establish more nuanced categories of poor food environments to address how food environments emerge health concerns in the Global South.

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2012

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Pólvora, sangre y sexo: dialogismos contemporáneos entre la literatura y el cine en América Latina

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The nature of the link between a literary text and its film adaptation has been a point of contention within academic thought since the inception of cinema due to the fact that film adaptation forms part of film history since

The nature of the link between a literary text and its film adaptation has been a point of contention within academic thought since the inception of cinema due to the fact that film adaptation forms part of film history since the early 20th century. For most of the past century, the main concern of critics has been the level of fidelity that adaptations exhibit in terms of their relationship with the text, which was viewed as "the original" that directors needed to use as a model. In the last 25 years, however, the discourse of fidelity has been challenged by a number of intellectuals as a result of poststructuralist thought, which rejects the notion of an "original" text and proclaims the existence of infinite meanings within each text that are constructed by the reader, not the writer. The present investigation will take into account this type of epistemology as its starting point in order to review and defy a number of theoretical approximations from the last several decades that deal with the relationship between literature and cinema towards its main goal of overcoming the limitations of fidelity discourse. This will be carried out through an in-depth analysis of Latin American texts that have been adapted to film. Thematically both the literary texts and the films contain elements that portray the reality of marginalized groups that build their existence in opposition to the model of patriarchal heteronormativity. In current epistemological thought such a modus vivendi falls within the realm of queer theory. Another common thread that unites all the cultural productions is the presence of violence that showcases the high level of intolerance towards any subject who somehow seems to be different, hence threatening the dominant configuration of patriarchy. Furthermore, the different texts and films expose a general fragmentation within Latin American society, a result of the constant struggles among its diverse social groups, between the ones who occupy the position of socioeconomic power and those who are left outside of it; such a fragmentation also stems from the multiple clashes that occur within the marginalized groups themselves.

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2011

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Dynamic secularisms: Christianity and the struggle for human rights in the Uruguayan Laïcité

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From 1973 to 1984 the people of Uruguay lived under a repressive military dictatorship. During that time, the Uruguayan government violated the Human Rights of its opponents and critics through prolonged imprisonment in inhumane conditions without trial, physical and psychological

From 1973 to 1984 the people of Uruguay lived under a repressive military dictatorship. During that time, the Uruguayan government violated the Human Rights of its opponents and critics through prolonged imprisonment in inhumane conditions without trial, physical and psychological torture, disappearance, and a negation of freedom of speech, thought and congregation. In this project, I argue that these violations of Human Rights committed by the military dictatorship added urgency to the rethinking by religious individuals of the Uruguayan model of secularism, the laïcité, and the role that their theology required them to play in the "secular" world. Influenced by the Liberation Theology movement, Catholic and Protestant leaders simultaneously made use of and challenged the secularization model in order to carve a space for themselves in the struggle for the protection of Human Rights.

Furthermore, I will argue that due to the Uruguayan system of partitocracy, which privileges political parties as the main voices in public matters, Uruguay still carries this history of Human Rights violations on its back. Had alternative views been heard in the public sphere, this thorny history might have been dealt with in a fairer manner. Thus, I call for further exploration of the "intelligent laïcité" model, which might ensure true democratic participation in the public sphere.

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2015

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Pathways to peace, progress, and public goods: rethinking regional hegemony

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The purpose of this dissertation is to study not only relations between Latin America and the United States, but also Latin American states with each other. It specifically aims to examine the extent to which the United States, the principal

The purpose of this dissertation is to study not only relations between Latin America and the United States, but also Latin American states with each other. It specifically aims to examine the extent to which the United States, the principal hegemonic power in the Americas, can play a constructive role by providing regional public goods. These goods include conflict resolution and economic progress. Although the United States has the potential to create such goods, it also has the potential to create public bads in the form of regional instability, political terror, and economic stagnation. This raises two fundamental research questions: Under what conditions can Washington play a positive role and if these conditions cannot be met, under what conditions can Latin American nations bypass the United States and create their own economic progress and conflict resolution strategies? Drawing upon qualitative research methods and case studies that have attracted scant academic attention, this dissertation finds that through regional multilateral diplomatic negotiations, the United States can play a positive role. However, due to U.S. parochial economic interests and the marginalization of diplomacy as a foreign policy tool, these conditions rarely occur. This research further finds, however, that through flexible regionalization Latin American nations can bypass the United States and create their own goods. Supported by an alternative regional power, flexible regionalization relies upon supranational institutions that exclude the United States, emphasize permanent political and economic integration, and avoid inflexible monetary unions. Through this type of regionalization, Latin America can decrease U.S. interference, sustain political and economic autonomy, and open space for alternative conflict resolution strategies and economic policies that Washington would otherwise oppose. This dissertation is academically significant and policy relevant. First, it reconsiders diplomacy as an instrumental variable for peace and offers generalizable results that can be applied to additional cases. Moreover, finding that Latin American countries can address their own regional issues, this study recognizes the positive agency of Latin America and counters the negative essentialization commonly found in U.S. academic and policy research. Finally, this research offers policy advice for both the United States and Latin America.

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2013

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Florencia Grimaldi: Latin America's soprano heroine

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Although opera is the last musical genre one typically associates with Latin America, Mexican composer Daniel Catán (1949-2011) found surprising success across the United States and overseas with his opera Florencia en el Amazonas (1996). Catán blends colorful music with

Although opera is the last musical genre one typically associates with Latin America, Mexican composer Daniel Catán (1949-2011) found surprising success across the United States and overseas with his opera Florencia en el Amazonas (1996). Catán blends colorful music with literary elements to create a representation of Latin American culture through language, drama, scenery, and music. Among these elements is realism mágico (magical realism), a significant characteristic of Latin American literature. Indeed, the plot of the opera is influenced by Gabriel García Márquez's novel, El amor en los tiempos del cólera (Love in the Time of Cholera, 1985), as well as the poem "Mariposa de obsidiana" (Obsidian Butterfly, 1951) and the short story "La hija de Rappaccini" (Rappaccini's Daughter, 1953), both by Octavio Paz. To create his protagonist in the opera, Florencia Grimaldi, Catán combines the dramatic qualities of several European soprano heroines. This figure's character development is conveyed largely through her Act I, Scene 2, aria, "Florencia Grimaldi," and her Act II, Scene 17, aria, "Escúchame." An overview of the opera places these two arias into context, and their musical content and text-setting are closely examined in relation to the character of Florencia. Finally, how Daniel Catán creates a soprano heroine from the Latin American perspective is discussed.

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2013

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Martín Fierro, Revista de avance y Amauta: hacia una literaturización vanguardista de la identidad latinoamericana

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The 1920s have played a key role in the formation of the Latin American consciousness of its own cultural identity. In approaching the selected three heterogeneous regions of Latin America, the Southern Cone, the Andean Zone and the Afroantillan Caribbean,

The 1920s have played a key role in the formation of the Latin American consciousness of its own cultural identity. In approaching the selected three heterogeneous regions of Latin America, the Southern Cone, the Andean Zone and the Afroantillan Caribbean, this research focuses on Latin American identity issues as a literary avant-garde construct found in the poetics and in the programmatic texts of the leading avant-garde journals of each corresponding region: Martín Fierro (1924-1927) in Argentina; revista de avance (1927-1930) in Cuba, and Amauta (1926-1930) in Perú. To carry out this kind of analysis and to fully understand the historic implications characteristics of each region, one of the initial tasks of the study has been to contextualize the period in each country in which the journals were published. After that, an analysis of each region's avant-garde production has been performed in order to categorize and situate the underlying questions of identity expressed in corresponding journals. Each region has been studied separately, yet all in view of contributing to a comprehensive and comparative study of the regions selected. The final result has been an organization of diverse principal semantic and ideological fields overlapping in and cross-crossing different regions as represented by the selected literary journals. Starting from the very same literature, which was inspired by the spirit of its time, this research has aimed at reconstructing the notions of identity that were common within the intellectual circles of the avant-garde times as expressed in the journals Martín Fierro, revista de avance, and Amauta, and, in the end, played a signal role in the development of national and continental cultural identity consciousness throughout Latin America from the beginning of the 20th century until today.

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2012

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Feminist decolonial politics of the intangible, environmental movements and the non-human in Mexico

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This study weighs the connection of environmental crisis with race and gender in different cases of environmental crisis and conflicts. The study documents how Indigenous cosmologies and cosmopolitics, and scientific arguments converge in unexpected alliances in the advent of environmental

This study weighs the connection of environmental crisis with race and gender in different cases of environmental crisis and conflicts. The study documents how Indigenous cosmologies and cosmopolitics, and scientific arguments converge in unexpected alliances in the advent of environmental crises. This research focuses on specific instances, or situations related to environmental justice movements addressing the environmental crisis in Mexico (and its convergences to other similar cases). I examine and present a discussion of the research methodologies and methods used to study the ‘environment’ as well as indigenous cosmologies and cosmopolitics. With this, I embark on a research that includes feminist decolonial theory, eco-feminism and material feminisms into a larger project for autonomy and decoloniality.

In particular, I discuss one of the concepts that have caught the attention of those studying race and ethnicity in the Americas: mestizaje as an ordinal principle in the context of Mexico. Also, I discuss the inscriptions of the mestiza body in relation to the materiality of race and gender in the context of Latin America. It is shown how the discourse of mestizaje is tangled with the idea of a modern civilization, such as in the Mexican state. Overall, this research analyzes different responses to environmental crises; from environmental activists, community organizers to plastic artists and scientific experts. Also, it includes a literary analysis of contemporary indigenous literatures to show how state sponsored violence and settler colonialism have an incidence in gender violence by placing the female body close to nature.

As global environmental problems have risen, this research contributes to the understanding of the underlying factors in environmental crises and conflict that have been overlooked. Herein lies an important possibility to reach a broader audience in different disciplines, ranging from indigenous studies to the global politics of human rights. Furthermore, this research aims to contribute to the work of environmental activists, scholars and scientists with regard to the understanding of how different arguments are used in research and advocacy work, and how they can integrate an interdisciplinary and intercultural approach when addressing environmental justice cases.

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Date Created
2016

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A history of emotions in Spanish American narrative (novel and film): Argentina and Chile 1960-21st century

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Due to its interdisciplinary nature, the history of emotions has engaged much scholarly interest. This project draws from the historical, sociological and philosophical research on emotions to analyze the representation of emotions in narratives from Argentina and Chile. This historical

Due to its interdisciplinary nature, the history of emotions has engaged much scholarly interest. This project draws from the historical, sociological and philosophical research on emotions to analyze the representation of emotions in narratives from Argentina and Chile. This historical investigation posits that socio-political, cultural and economic forces, which are represented in literature and film, shape emotions and emotional standards. The analysis of Rayuela (1963) by Julio Cortázar and Raúl Ruiz’s Tres Tristes Tigres (1968) is centered on the impact of Existentialism, capitalism and modernity on the construction of emotional standards in urban societies. The impact of militant groups in the shaping of collective emotions in Latin America during the 1960s and 70s is examined in Reina Roffé’s novel Monte de Venus (1973) and Aldo Francia’s film Ya no basta con rezar (1972). The analysis of Alberto Fuguet’s Las películas de mi vida (2002) and Pablo Larraín’s No (2012) sheds light on the paradigmatic shift in the construction of emotional standards resulting from the implementation of neoliberalism through dictatorships as well as the insertion into the globalized consumerist culture by way of technology and media. Finally, this project encourages future research of the emotions in literary and cultural studies of Latin America.

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Date Created
2016