“Power to the People” Research

For one of my group’s sources on “Power to the People”, I have chosen:

Plotkin, Mariano Ben. 2002. Mañana es San Perón: A cultural history of Peron’s Argentina. Wilmington, Del: Scholarly Resources.

This book goes beyond the exploration of the political tools and manipulation used by Peron’s populist government and looks into the social and propagandist aspects of his party. Although our group will most definitely look into the charismatic nature of Juan and Eva Peron and their political success’ dependency on their relatability  and charisma, this book looks into the ways in which their government propelled the mass mobilization of people with Peronist ideas and social structures and institutions. This book examines the divisive dynamics of the “us and them”, which will also be researched by our group, but looks further into the way the division allowed for the reinforcement of Peronism social ideas.

The success of Peronism was due in part to its integration into people’s everyday lives. Peronist ideals were integrated into the public school system, as well as into statutory holidays, and into social groups geared towards women, youth and the less privileged in society. Plotkin focuses on media tools that were massively used by this government as well as the social pressure created to have people follow them. Argentina became a country in which your political allegiance would highly influence your academic and career opportunities due in part to the social culture of Peronism.

It is undisputed that Juan and Eva Peron are probably the most well-known Argentine political figures throughout the world today. It is also definitely worth researching that Juan Peron brought issues like rights for women, children and workers into the Argentine elite’s scope of vision, which no political leader had ever done before. Due to their very divisive following, Plotkin looks into the air of romanticism and mysticism that followed this couple well through Eva’s death and continues on until this day. It is this legacy, that will also be explored, that has made room for a book like Plotkin’s to be researched; looking into the deeper social fissures as well as bonding that came out of Peron’s populist governments.

I believe that Plotkin’s book is extremely beneficial for my group’s research of populism in Latin America because it focuses on the social sphere of a very politically dense subject. Aside from making it more understandable and relatable to its audience, Plotkin also highlights the manipulation that did take place during Peron’s governments, which mostly occurred because his populist ideas were internalized by a large part of the Argentine population.

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