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Governing the poor: the transformation of social governance in Argentina and Chile

Wigell, Mikael (2010) Governing the poor: the transformation of social governance in Argentina and Chile. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

A crucial phenomenon during the last two decades has been the transformation of social governance. New orientations in social policy have radically altered the roles of the state, market and civil society in social provision. The thesis proposes a framework for understanding this transformation of social governance that links political leaders’strategic calculations to the particular political challenges they face as a result of changes in the socioeconomic environment as well as to the ideas and institutions that shape their reform attempts. Importantly, it shows how the “pluralist” social policy approach that was initiated by governments all over the developing world in the 1990s may lead to different modes of social governance with contrasting effects on statesociety relations. By drawing on a comparative analysis of Argentina and Chile, the thesis shows how this is highly contingent on regime institutions. In Argentina, regime institutions provide politicians with wide discretion in distributing social funds. The result has been a populist mode of social governance in which neo-clientelism serves to politicize the linkages between the political elites and subaltern sectors. In Chile, by contrast, regime institutions provide politicians with very little discretion in distributing social funds. This has resulted in a technocratic mode of social governance in which neo-pluralism serves to depoliticize the linkages between the political elites and subaltern sectors. Both outcomes differ markedly from widely made assumptions that couple the pluralist social policy approach with more participatory governance and poor people’s empowerment.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2010 Mikael Wigell
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JL Political institutions (America except United States)
Sets: Departments > International Development
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/524

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