Post-neoliberalism in Latin America: Rebuilding and Reclaiming the State after Crisis


  • Jean Grugel,

    1. is Professor of International Development at the University of Sheffield. Her research interests span questions of development, citizenship, human rights and democracy. Recent publications include Governance after Neoliberalism in Latin America (with Pía Riggirozzi, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), Critical Perspectives on Global Governance: Rights and Regulation in Governing Regimes (with Nicola Piper, Routledge, 2007) and Democratization (Palgrave, 2012) as well as articles in International Sociology, Journal of Latin American Studies and Human Rights Quarterly.
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  • Pía Riggirozzi

    1. is Lecturer in Global Politics at the University of Southampton. Her research focuses on political economy of development and regionalism. Her publications include Advancing Governance in the South: What Roles for IFIs in Developing States? (Palgrave, 2009), ‘Region, Regionness and Regionalism in Latin America: Towards a New Synthesis’ (New Political Economy, 2011), and The Rise of Post-Hegemonic Regionalism: The Case of Latin America (edited with D. Tussie, Springer-UNU/CRIS, 2012).
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The authors would like to thank Paul Mosley and Jojo Nem Singh as well the referees for comments on an earlier version of this paper.


The idea that states should take on an enhanced role in the pursuit of development is once again becoming increasingly pronounced in the global South. In Latin America, the ‘return of the state’ is associated with neostructuralism or post-neoliberalism and the rise of the New Left. Post-neoliberal projects of governance seek to retain elements of the previous export-led growth model whilst introducing new mechanisms for social inclusion and welfare. In addition to being a project of growth based on exports and expanded social spending, post-neoliberalism has a distinctive political character. This article explores the pillars of the new governance project, emphasizing the citizenship claims associated with it, along with some of the tensions that arise from export-dependent growth, budget limitations, a weak tax base and the difficulties of managing enhanced social expectations. In making their argument, the authors draw on the examples of Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina.