Situating Peronism within the broad arc of twentieth-century Argentine cultural change, the contributors focus on the interplay of cultural traditions, official policies, commercial imperatives, and popular perceptions. They describe how the Perón regime’s rhetoric and representations helped to produce new ideas of national and collective identity. At the same time, they show how Argentines pursued their interests through their engagement with the Peronist project, and, in so doing, pushed the regime in new directions. While the volume’s emphasis is on the first Perón presidency, one contributor explores the origins of the regime and two others consider Peronism’s transformations in subsequent years. The essays address topics including mass culture and melodrama, folk music, pageants, social respectability, architecture, and the intense emotional investment inspired by Peronism. They examine the experiences of women, indigenous groups, middle-class anti-Peronists, internal migrants, academics, and workers. By illuminating the connections between the state and popular consciousness, The New Cultural History of Peronism exposes the contradictions and ambivalences that have characterized Argentine populism.
Contributors: Anahi Ballent, Oscar Chamosa, María Damilakou, Eduardo Elena, Matthew B. Karush, Diana Lenton, Mirta Zaida Lobato, Natalia Milanesio, Mariano Ben Plotkin, César Seveso, Lizel Tornay
Matthew B. Karush is Associate Professor of History and Director of Latin American Studies at George Mason University. He is the author of Workers or Citizens: Democracy and Identity in Rosario, Argentina, 1912–1930.
Oscar Chamosa is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Georgia.
Martínez Peláez asserts that “the coffee dictatorships were the full and radical realization of criollo notions of the patria.” This patria, or homeland, was one that criollos had wrested from Spaniards in the name of independence and taken control of based on claims of liberal reform. He contends that since labor is needed to make land productive, the exploitation of labor, particularly Indian labor, was a necessary complement to criollo appropriation. His depiction of colonial reality is bleak, and his portrayal of Spanish and criollo behavior toward Indians unrelenting in its emphasis on cruelty and oppression. Martínez Peláez felt that the grim past he documented surfaces each day in an equally grim present, and that confronting the past is a necessary step in any effort to improve Guatemala’s woes. An extensive introduction situates La Patria del Criollo in historical context and relates it to contemporary issues and debates.