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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Solidarity at the margins : literature, film, and justice in neoliberal Argentina, Brazil and Chile

  • Author(s): Daniels, Jennie Irene
  • et al.

This dissertation investigates literature and film of post -dictatorship Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Certain political continuities and the implementation of neoliberal economic policies by transitional regimes, as well as the discrediting of leftist projects with the fall of the Soviet Union, left the opposition to these policies with few political alternatives. Although the severity and posterior influence of each country's dictatorship differed, many novels and films of the 1980s and 1990s reconstruct space in such a way that social "others" experience restricted movement or limited possibilities to act. Writers represent spaces in which marginalized characters operate as a labyrinth, as places physically removed from mainstream society, as racially separate, or as seemingly inescapable. In addition to the role of national politics and economics, international intervention plays a large part in the creation of restricting marginalized spaces. I argue that even as these works represent constrictive marginalized spaces, they also construct possibilities for social justice through bonds of solidarity that certain socially marginalized characters form with one another. Solidarity takes the form of communication, building relationships, sharing resources and, in its most developed form in the novels and films, political mobilization. I show how solidarity between characters must be intentional, as well as between society's marginalized as opposed to solely collaboration with an intellectual vanguard, in order to have the possibility of successful enactment of social justice. Together, these works call for a raised awareness of political, social and economic oppression even as proponents of the neoliberal model hail the economy as the way to access social incorporation. In a time period when there appeared to be few alternatives, these works suggest that a more equal distribution of wealth, resources and political power is not only possible, but that the potential lies within marginalized sectors in solidarity with each other

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