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Evolutions of the competition state in Latin America: power, contestation and neo-liberal populism

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This contribution argues that competition state theory unduly marginalises the political dimensions of state reform. Institutional reform is not simply political in the sense that policies are contested, but because reform reshapes the very nature, process and possibilities of politics itself. I argue that the competition state project has sought to enforce new technologies of power and discipline across socio-economic life by enforcing new ways of (and limits to) doing politics within the paradigm of an abstract 'global competitiveness'. The discourse of competitiveness, therefore, is not merely a response to a changing external environment in an era of globalisation but a representative of a determined political project in the context of distinct social struggles. The article traces this argument through a discussion of neo-liberal reform in Latin America generally and Chile specifically.
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Keywords: Chile; Latin America; competition state; competitiveness; institutions; neo-liberalism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Global Development Studies, Queen's University, Canada

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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