By Javier Auyero
Auyero reconstructs Nana’s and Laura’s biographies via oral histories and diaries. Drawing on interviews with many different protesters, newspaper articles, judicial documents, govt reviews, and video pictures, he presents sociological and old context for his or her tales. The women’s bills display the frustrations of lives beaten through gender domination, the deprivations led to by way of hyper-unemployment and the withering of the welfare element of the nation, and the achievements and prices of collective motion. Balancing awareness to large-scale political and monetary procedures with acknowledgment of the plurality of meanings emanating from own experiences, Contentious Lives is an insightful, penetrating, and well timed contribution to discussions of well known resistance and the mixed results of globalization, neoliberal financial rules, and political corruption in Argentina and elsewhere.
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Extra resources for Contentious Lives: Two Argentine Women, Two Protests, and the Quest for Recognition
They are doing something utterly new in the history of both towns and of their own lives. How do they make sense of it? The brief opening narrative condenses the main themes, or better, the questions I want to explore about the contentious episode as lived experience. How does Laura, a divorced mother of three, an underemployed private tutor with no history of previous activism (in fact, with a visceral disdain for anything political) become the ‘‘representative’’ of hundreds of picketers and, by extension, of the two towns?
He used to go to the club, to hang out with his friends, but now he doesn’t go because he needs money for that. You need to buy a drink, put some money down for the food, or sometimes invite everybody for a round. ’’ In their seventies, María Esther and Kelio have their house—the house where they lived for more than forty years, where they raised their sons and grandchildren, and where they generously put me up for more than a week—up for public auction because of an outstanding debt to the provincial bank: ‘‘I think we are going to lose it,’’ María Esther tells me in frustration.
More than half of the population of both towns lives below the oﬃcial poverty line (Favaro et al. 1997, 17). Nowa44 CONTENTIOUS LIVES days only 35 percent of those 7,408 are subsidized by federal or provincial ‘‘work plans,’’ receiving an average of $150 per month. ’’ Most of the ‘‘work plans,’’ as they are called, have to be renewed every three to six months. ‘‘And every time one plan is canceled, we have to bring two cops to the oﬃce because people get really mad, really violent .
Contentious Lives: Two Argentine Women, Two Protests, and the Quest for Recognition by Javier Auyero