The Concept of Work Challenged by Unemployment. Productive and Solidarity Activities within Argentinian Piqueteros Movements (1990s-2000s)

Organizing Work in Contemporary Argentina
By Pía Valeria Rius

During the 1990s, the world of work in Argentina underwent upheavals due to changes in the economic regime and a process of acute social polarisation. Labour movements came into being, notably led by unemployed workers known as piqueteros. The first part of this paper focuses on the socio-political context that resulted in this sharp increase in precarious living conditions for workers. It also analyses the role of the state and of these organisations themselves in developing new social policies. The second part analyses “solidarity” activities (including canteens, snacks for children, etc.) as well as “productive” activities (vegetable gardens, bakeries, woodworking workshops, etc.) that were set up, enabling us to grasp the transformation affecting residents and their own surroundings. These little-known activities prompted a circulation of skills and the genesis of new working and participative capacities.

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