The Political Science Discipline in Argentina The Political

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The Political Science Discipline in Argentina The Political Powered By Docstoc

the Political Science Discipline
in Argentina: the Political Scientist’s
national Association’s role
Diego Mazzoccone, Political Scientist’s National Association
Mariano Mosquera, Catholic University of Córdoba.
Silvana Espejo, National University of La Plata
Mariana Fancio, University of Buenos Aires
Gabriela Gonzalez, University of Buenos Aires
Tamara Litvinov, University of Buenos Aires
Glenda Margarita Schvetz, University of Buenos Aires

         t is very difficult to date the birth    space of diffusion for these ideas.                democratic recovery, with the restoration
         of political science in Argentina.           Due to the military coup of 1966, this evo-    of the political science career track at the
         Unlike other discipline of the social    lution was interrupted and many teachers           Universidad Mayor de San Andrés. Most
         sciences, in Argentina the first dis-    and scholars had to emigrate to other coun-        of the first Bolivian political scientists were
         tinction can be made between politi-     tries. The decade of the 1970s was character-      intellectuals educated in Germany, Mexico,
cal thought on the one hand, and political        ized by a deep social and political conflicts      and France.
science in another. The debate over politi-       that also shaped the academic arena. All of            As a consequence of enduring questions
cal thought—as the reflection of different        this happened in a time of lost confidence in      about democratic institutions and the pre-
political questions—emerged in our country        scientific investigation as a form of under-       cariousness of academic development, the
in the nineteenth century, especially during      standing politics. After the military coup of      discipline, as well as the profession, is unsta-
the process of constructing the Argentine         1976, the persecution of scholars and teachers     ble. As in other Latin American countries,
nation-state. Conversely, political science is    led to an almost total paralysis of scholarly      the principal challenge for political science
defined in a general way as the application       activity, whose development was reduced to         in Bolivia is finding a disciplinary identity.
of the scientific method to the studies on        a few investigation centers that were inter-       Historically, political science has been mixed
the power of the state (Fernández 2001).          ested in revaluing democracy as a regime           inside the university system with law studies.
    Since the end of the nineteenth century       and were interested in the state as a form         This has generated misunderstanding and
and during the first decades of the twenti-       of organization.                                   ignorance regarding the goals of political sci-
eth century, there was a moment of proto-             With the return of the democracy in 1983,      ence as an arena of inquiry. About 60–70% of
political science, characterized by the label-    a fourth stage of consolidation for the disci-     the political science professionals in Bolivia
ing of some courses as “social sciences” and      pline and the profession emerged in Argenti-       have found an occupation inside the public
“sciences of the culture” at the universities     na. This consolidation has relied on scholars,     sector (Varnoux Garay 2005).
of Buenos Aires and La Plata. It is a moment      scientists, and teachers returning from exile          The Brazilian case is unusual (as is the
of “formalist” political science, concentrated    as well as on the recovery of the university’s     case of Chile), where the discipline arose
on the legal frames in which the political        autonomy and the opening of new careers in         before the return of democracy. Since the
action is developed (Leiras, Abal Medina, and     political science at the local universities. The   1960s several graduate courses have tried
D’Alessandro 2005). Thus, the development         research centered in private groups and cen-       to contribute to the democratization of the
of constitutional law was favored during this     ters while democratic consolidation encour-        country. Nevertheless, its consolidation in
period and this tradition contributed in the      aged a broader production of knowledge. This       Brazil did not happen formally until the
1940s to the creation of a range of institu-      transformation was evident in the increased        beginning of the 1980s with the creation of
tions, academies, and magazines.                  number of meetings and publications dedi-          the doctorate program at San Pablo’s Univer-
    A third stage of the evolution of the dis-    cated to the discipline.                           sity and the National Association of Political
cipline took place in the 1950s—at first with                                                        Science during the next decade. Most of the
the discipline’s incorporation into other aca-    Origin Of the discipline in                        influences for the discipline in Brazil came
demic disciplines, and then being constitut-      Other latin american cOun-                         from the U.S., England, and France, suggest-
ed as a discipline itself with the creation of    tries (BOlivia, Brazil, chile,                     ing an empirical methodological develop-
political science departments in universities.    and uruguay)                                       ment (Amorim and Santos 2005).
Notably, this moment of academic autonomy         In other Latin American countries the                  Chile was another one of the Latin Amer-
supported the diffusion of the Alliance for the   birth and development of the discipline            ican pioneers in the study of political sci-
Progress in Latin America, and the Univer-        had its own particularities. In Bolivia, the       ence. The Latin American Department of
sity of the Salvador constituted a privileged     discipline arose formally in 1983, after the       Social Sciences (FLACSO) in Santiago was

616 PS • July 2009

one of the first places to establish doctoral-    science (investigation and research work, sta-    onstrates the autonomy and free initiative
level studies in political science in South       tistics, seminars, congresses, etc.), stimulate   of its members. Following the principle of
America, and Chile was also one of the first      contact between partners, share experiences,      democratization, all members also have equal
to create specific publications on the dis-       and propose ideas for the development and         right and obligations and all the decisions
cipline. Its development was halted with          diffusion of the profession.                      inside the association are taken by consen-
the advent of the military dictatorship but           Argentina is a federal country with an        sus or by a simple majority of votes. Finally,
emerged stronger in the 1980s following the       extensive territory divided into 23 provinces.    ANAP tries to work in the country and with
creation of the Political Science Institute at    Most of the time long distances impede meet-      other political science organizations in Latin
University of Chile. The publication Politics     ings and exchanges between students and           America and the rest of the world with the
was important for this rebirth (Rehren and        professionals in the discipline. So the asso-     clear aim of exchanging knowledge of the
Fernández 2005).                                  ciation strives to develop a broad national       discipline. Other countries in the region have
    In Uruguay, the discipline was born tied      character by trying to reach many cities where    encouraged similar initiatives. The Chilean
to the law faculty after a reform of the study    a political science career can be pursued in      Student’s Network of Political Science arose
plan in 1957. Its consolidation as an indepen-    public as well as private universities.           in a similar manner to ANAP. It is also an
dent discipline did not take place until the          The association has the aim of empha-         organization with autonomous and nation-
democratization, with the foundation of the       sizing cultural and social knowledge about        al character with the purpose of promoting
Political Science Institute between 1985 and      political science, given that in Argentina        the development of the political science in
1989. The first generation of Ph.D.s in politi-                                                     the country.
cal science was composed of exiled politicians                                                          Emphasizing the connection between
educated in the U.S. and France. Since then,
                                                  Argentina is a federal coun-                      and among students and professionals in
the profession has been consolidated with a
                                                  try with an extensive territo-                    political science is a constant that cuts across
notable increase in students, almost reach-
                                                  ry divided into 23 provinces.                     different national contexts. As a result, the
ing the numbers in sociology. Notably, the
                                                  Most of the time long dis-                        establishment political science congresses,
social perception of a political scientist con-
                                                  tances impede meetings and                        conventions, and meetings are among the
tinues to be strongly linked with the idea of
                                                  exchanges between students                        most important and ambitious activities
an expert in elections and political parties,
                                                  and professionals in the                          that are needed to promote and bring forth
rather than as an analyst of public politics
                                                  discipline. So the association                    new mechanisms to encourage debate and
(Garcé 2005).
                                                  strives to develop a broad                        scholarly work.
                                                  national character by trying
natiOnal assOciatiOns in                          to reach many cities where a                      cOnclusiOns
argentina                                         political science career can                      The political scientist’s role in Argentina
Nowadays, there are several publications
                                                  be pursued in public as well                      has changed with the development of the
dedicated to the discipline in Argentina.
                                                  as private universities. The                      discipline. In the beginning, it was largely
There are also several research institutes
                                                  association has the aim of                        restricted to an academic space and related
and associations that link scholars of poli-
                                                  emphasizing cultural and                          to the construction of political knowledge.
tics as well, besides individual departments
                                                  social knowledge about po-                        Nowadays, these zones of action have been
at different universities. The Internation-
                                                  litical science, given that in                    consolidated and broadened. In addition to
al Congress organized by SAAP (Argen-
                                                  Argentina a deep ignorance                        their scholarly research, political scientists
tinean Society of Political Analysis) ranks
                                                  exists on the subject.                            also advise international organizations and
among the most important activities relat-                                                          consult in business and public administra-
ed to political science in Argentina, and it      a deep ignorance exists on the subject. By        tion. Today, diverse sectors that were not
assembles a great number of national and          bringing services and benefits to the stu-        seen as fields for the profession before now
international participants every two years.       dents and professionals in political science,     demand political scientists because they are
    Despite this, it is premature to talk about   promoting an exchange of ideas, and work-         interested in better understanding human
new areas of career placement and integra-        ing strongly to make the discipline more          interactions and power relationships.
tion for political science students. One nota-    professional, ANAP makes a difference for             From this pattern of development and
ble obstacle is that there is no working space    its members as well as with the other orga-       evolution some conclusions arise. First, in
or support for research before professional       nizations related to the discipline.              Argentina, academic areas have been affected
placement. In light of this landscape in Argen-       Given that it cannot offer one large forum    by regime changes. The periods of greater
tina, a group of political science students and   between students and graduates in the whole       growth coincide with institutional stabil-
professionals decided to form the Political       country yet, and to face the reality of disper-   ity and pluralism. A variety of approaches
Scientist’s National Association (ANAP) in        sion and isolation, ANAP proposes regu-           that have been observed in other countries
2008. This is a nonprofit organization who’s      lar smaller meetings between its members.         are reproduced in Argentina because of the
principal aim is to create a political science    Another important characteristic of the asso-     plurality of educational paths and the insti-
network that links all the students and gradu-    ciation is that it is nonpartisan: it does not    tutional links between teachers and univer-
ates in the country. In this forum members        belong to any political party, state organism,    sity researchers. The thematic agendas have
perform diverse activities related to political   or public or private entities, and this dem-      been organized depending on government

                                                                                                                                PS • July 2009 617

agendas and on the priorities of regional           not been achieved. Considering this, ANAP           to be an effective academic and democratic
research networks (Leiras, Abal Medina, and         aims to narrow the most evident deficits:           alternative. n
D’Alessandro 2005).                                 from the need of independent research and
    At present, political science is a discipline   its valuation, to the gathering of informa-         references
opened to new possibilities of job placement,       tion and resources with the commitment of           Álvarez Díaz, Ángel, and Said Dahdah Antar. 2005. “La
but one that still must face society’s deep         autonomy from any political and economic               ciencia política en Venezuela: fortalezas pasadas
                                                                                                           y vulnerabilidades presentes.” Revista de Ciencia
ignorance of its implications and knowledge.        force, and to the dispersion of knowledge and          Política 25 (1).
Nevertheless, the scientists interested in the      production related to the discipline.               Amorim Neto, Octavio, and Fabiano Santos. 2005. “La
discipline, and even new generations, dem-               ANAP welcomes all the students and               ciencia política en Brasil: el desafío de la expan-
                                                                                                          sión” Revista de Ciencia Política 25 (1).
onstrate a great interest in its growth and         graduates who are looking for a forum to
                                                                                                        Bejarano, Ana María, and María Emma Wills. 2005.
consolidation. This gives us great hope that        exchange ideas at a national level to achieve          “La ciencia política en Colombia: de vocación a dis-
the initiatives in the region are capable of        the desired equality, and moreover, to close           ciplina.” Revista de Ciencia Política 25 (1).
joining, integrating, growing, and sharing          the existing gap between political scientists in    Bulcourf, Pablo, and Juan Cruz Vázquez. 2004. “La
                                                                                                           ciencia política como profesión.” Revista de Reflex-
the experiences, research, and work related         the capital district and those in the rest of the      ión y Análisis Político (10).
to political science.                               country. Our intention is sustainable contact       Fernández, Arturo. 2001. “Entrevista.” Revista de
    The Political Scientist’s National Associa-     with similar institutions in the region and            Reflexión y Análisis Político (7).
tion in Argentina tries to give a meeting and       other countries to extend and share achieve-        Garcé, Adolfo. 2005. “La ciencia política en Uruguay:
                                                                                                           un desarrollo tardío, intenso y asimétrico.” Revista
communication place between collaborators           ments. We believe that the association’s               de Ciencia Política 25 (1).
with the aim of contributing to the empty or        capacity will contribute to the formation of        Leiras, Marcelo, Juan Abal Medina, and Martín
unbalanced spaces in the discipline. This is        a critical and autonomous academic area.               D’Alesssandro. 2005. “La Ciencia Política en Argen-
                                                                                                           tina: el camino de la institucionalización dentro y
spurred in most cases by the lack of public         We trust that this organization will stimu-            fuera de las aulas universitarias.” Revista de Ciencia
and private investment in the area. Since           late not only a concrete expansion of the              Política 25 (1).
the democratic recovery, many of the stated         discipline but also an increasing interest in       Rehren, Alfredo, and Marco Fernández. 2005. “La
                                                                                                           evolución de la ciencia política en Chile: un análi-
plans that would consolidate the discipline,        it, ultimately helping to form a space where           sis exploratorio (1980–2000).” Revista de Ciencia
or goals to increase employment for gradu-          professionals and students can share their             Política 25 (1).
ates in political science in the country, have      concerns and establish the values needed            Varnoux Garay, Marcelo. 2005. “La ciencia política en
                                                                                                           Bolivia: entre la reforma política y la crisis de la
                                                                                                           democracia.” Revista de Ciencia Política 25 (1).

618 PS • July 2009

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