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Neoliberalism, corporatism, and small business political activism in contemporary Mexico

Shadlen, Kenneth C. ORCID: 0000-0003-4010-4835 (2000) Neoliberalism, corporatism, and small business political activism in contemporary Mexico. Latin American Research Review, 35 (2). pp. 73-106. ISSN 0023-8791

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In the 1980s and 1990s, neoliberalism and changing policy-making regimes presented social actors throughout Latin America with new challenges and opportunities. This article analyzes the political strategies developed by two organizations representing small manufacturers in Mexico for responding to these sweeping economic and political changes, emphasizing the organizational bases of political activism. Strategies are assessed according to organizations' public expression of support for or opposition to economic policies, the extent to which organizations work within existing arrangements for interest representation, and the political alliances made by small business organizations and their leaders. One strategy in Mexico entailed acquiescing to radical economic policy changes, deploying significant resources to preserve a set of corporatist institutions that regulated business association, and supporting the government incumbents. Another strategy entailed voicing persistent public criticism of neoliberalism, spearheading a national campaign against business corporatism, and supporting the Center-Left opposition. Analysis of these strategies demonstrates the important effects of institutional legacies during periods of regime change. The perseverance of corporatist institutions can make it difficult for weak actors to shed old modes of activism, notwithstanding a changed array of material and political incentives.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2000 Latin American Research Review
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: J Political Science > JL Political institutions (America except United States)
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2010 12:28
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2024 19:21

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