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New Left Review 103, January-February 2017


Jeffery Webber

SOCIAL THEORY FROM THE SOUTH

One of the great problems of social theory in Latin America, according to the Argentine scholar Maristella Svampa, is a ‘deficit of accumulation’, due not only to cycles of political repression but to a recurrent ‘blurring’ and ‘forgetting’, a certain scorn for the discussion of ideas. [1] Maristella Svampa, Debates latinoamericanos: Indianismo, desarrollo, dependencia, populismo, Edhasa: Buenos Aires 2016, ars$425, paperback 568 pp, 978 987 628 400 4. These problems of transmission, she argues, are generational as much as regional, accentuated by the habit of burying debates that played a crucial part in the critical thought of earlier epochs. With the resurgence of the right across the continent—Macri in Argentina, Temer in Brazil, the mud victory in Venezuela’s legislative elections—these questions have gained fresh urgency, as a new season of theoretical debate in Latin America has sought to explain the turning of the ‘pink tide’ and evaluate its legacy. Svampa’s new book joins the debate with gusto, combining a historical survey of Latin American social theory with her own reflections on some of the central questions facing the continent today.

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