In February 2019, Paraguay will celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the putsch that overthrew Alfredo Stroessner (1954-1989). On this occasion, the French peer-review Cahiers des Amérique latines will dedicate a special issue on contemporary Paraguayan political and social developments.
The academic literature seems to hold that Stronato's shadow has durably clouded the prospects for political modernization and empowerment of local civil society. After experiencing a transition described as "incomplete" [Morínigo, 2002], "circular" [Simón, 2008] or even "gatopardist" [Soares, 2009], Paraguayan democracy has long been presented as "vulnerable" [Mendonca, 2010]. In June 2012, the impeachment against Fernando Lugo, the first left-wing president in the country's history, would have meant an involution in this very chaotic process of democratic consolidation [Duarte Recalde, 2013 ; Szucs, 2014]. For many analysts, Paraguay has not finished exorcising its authoritarian past. According to Félix Pablo Friggeri (2017: 218), the country is still under the control of what he calls "a globalized stroessnism".
Already very strong in politics, the seal of Stronato seems even thigter on economic, social and cultural structures. In fact, deemed conservative in terms of morals [Rivarola, 2008], Paraguay also stands out as a highly unequal country. While its socio-economic structure remains rural, land concentration is the highest in the world (85% of the land is owned by 2% of the agricultural population). During the 1990s and 2000s, the country seems to have even experienced a "counter agrarian reform” [Hetherington, 2014].
Regarding education, although the educational system is still characterized by its politicization and mediocrity [Pineda, 2012], it is also very original because of its bilingual naturel Spanish / Guarani throughout the territory [Boyer et Penner, 2012 ; Penner, 2016]. Multiculturalism in Paraguay honours a Native American language. However, discrimination is still important for other ethnic groups or “racialized” minorities [Boidin, 2014].
Moreover, civil society is certainly less apathetic today than it could have been presented ten years ago [Sondrol, 2007]. As illustrated by recent protests by students against the corruption of the university system [Duarte Recalde, González Ríos, 2016] or, more tragically, the riots that set Asuncion's streets on fire in March 2017, following the presidential re-election project [González Bozzolasco, 2017], we have been witnessing an upsurge in social mobilizations over the past three years. In many respects, this “unequaled spring" [Sosa Walder, 2015] shows a growing exasperation of younger generations and means a much lesser tolerance of citizens with regard to any form of misappropriation and / or abuse than in the past.
Rather than trying to demonstrate the resilience of a political and social system still flawed by patrimonialist logics inherited from Stronato (corruption, impunity, violence), our special issue will assume a more "optimistic" orientation than most academic works. We will shed light on the political and social evolutions of contemporary Paraguay, focusing in particular on the dynamism of its civil society (new challenges of mobilization, cultural transformations linked to demographic evolutions and generational renewal, various literary or cinematographic expressions).
The proposals will seek to understand:
- How has bipartism evolved during the last thirty years? Reflections will focus on the politically marginal and rarely studied formations (left, feminist movement, LGBT, etc.).
- Do the state / civil society relationships seem less paternalistic and patronizing than in the past? The idea would be to analyse the process of social empowerment, focusing on the organizational modalities of NGOs, trade unions, or more broadly, less institutionalized social movements.
- What role do the media and, more generally, the information and communication technologies play in shaping public opinion? With regard to the press, a more systematic or thoughtful study would undoubtedly reveal less conservative views than one might think at first glance.
- What about the educational situation of the country? In a broader perspective, the proposals could also focus on the cultural renewal brought about by contemporary literary or cinematographic productions.
- What is the situation of indigenous peoples and racialized minorities in Paraguayan society? - Is the weight of the Catholic religion still as important as before? Here, it might be wise to also look at "religious groups" in the broad sense (Mennonites, evangelical sects, etc.), to question whether their influence is growing (or not).
Procedure of submission
Articles are welcomed from the whole range of social science disciplines (anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science, sociology, etc.), and may be submitted in French, Spanish, or English. Article submissions may contain:
- name, lastname ;
- university or research center;
- short CV with e-mail adress ;
- Title of the article ;
- 350 words abstract of the article
They must be sent to both of the special issue guest editor by February, 13th 2018
at the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Authors will be informed within two weeks by the Editorial Committee of the Cahiers des Amériques Latines whether their abstract has been accepted.
Full articles (45.000 letters approximately, counting spaces, footnotes, bibliography, abstracts and keywords) are to be submitted by April, 13th 2017. All articles will be double-blind reviewed; final decision regarding acceptance lies with the Editorial Committee of the Cahiers des Amériques Latines.
Publication is expected in February-March 2019.
Please see the instructions for authors. All articles that are not up to those standards will not be considered.
- Abstract to be sent by: February 13th 2018.
- Articles to be submitted by: May 13th 2018.
- Publication of special issue: February-March 2019.
- Boidin, Capucine (2014), « Le double discours des politiques d’éducation interculturelle bilingue au Paraguay », Problèmes d’Amérique latine, n°92, p.73-90.
- Boyer, Henri et Hedy Penner (dir.) (2012), Le Paraguay bilingue, Paris, L’Harmattan.
- Duarte Recalde, Liliana (2013), « Paraguay : interrupción al proceso de consolidación de la democracia », Revista de Ciencia Política, vol. 33, n° 1, p. 303-324.
- Duarte Recalde, Liliana, González Ríos, Cynthia (2016), « Paraguay : entre las movilizaciones sociales y el reordenamiento electoral », Revista de Ciencia Política, vol.36, n°1, p.287-312.
- Friggeri, Félix Pablo (2017), « Paraguay después del golpe: el precio de ponerse colorado », Foro internacional, vol.57, n°1, p.188-226.
- González Bozzolasco, Ignacio (2017) « Paraguay : la reelección presidencial y los inicios de la carrera electoral 2018 », Revista de Ciencia Política, vol.37, n°2, p.543-562.
- Hetherington, Kreeg (2014), « La contrarreforma agraria en Paraguay », in Almeyra, Guillermo et al. (coord.) Capitalismo : tierra y poder en América latina (1982-2012). Vol. 1. Mexico, UNAM, pp. 173-214.
- Mendonca, Daniel (2010), Democracia vulnerable. Un estudio sobre el sistema político paraguayo, Asunción, Intercontinental Editora.
- Morínigo, José (2002), « La transición circular », Novapolis, n° 1, p. 4-19.
- Penner, Hedy (2016), « La ley de lenguas en el Paraguay : ¿ Un paso decisivo en la oficialización de facto del guaraní ?», Signo y Seña, n°30, p.108-136.
- Pineda, Oscar (2012), Breve Historia de la educación en el Paraguay, Asunción, Servilibro.
- Rivarola, Domingo (2008), « Conservadurismo y cultura política en la transición » , Revista Paraguaya de Sociología, n° 132/133, 2008, pp. 169-187.
- Simón, José Luis (2008), « El Paraguay después de Stroessner : ¿De la transición incompleta a la democracia ? » , Revista Paraguaya de Sociología, n° 131, p. 85-124.
- Soares, Camilo (2009), « El gatopardismo de la oligarquía paraguaya », Novapolis, n° 4, p. 57-58.
- Sondrol, Paul (2007), « Paraguay : a Semi-Authoritarian Regime ? », Armed Forces & Society, vol. 34, n° 1, p. 46-66.
- Sosa Walder, María (2016), « Una primavera sin igual », Estudios Paraguayos, vol.33, n°1-2, p.13-21.
- Szucs, Rebecca, (2014), « A democracy’s ‘poor performance’ : The impeachment of paraguayan president Fernando Lugo », George Washington International Law Review, vol.46, p.409-436.