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Beginning with Brazil in 1964, continuing with Chile in 1973, and concluding with Argentina in 1976, the ABC powers of South America experienced civil-military coups and long-lived dictatorships that put an end to their democratic governments and programs of structural reform. Each coup reflected national circumstances and histories that differed from country to country—in Brazil, the military overthrew João Goulart's left populist government, in Chile, the Pinochet coup put an end to Allende's democratic road to socialism, while in Argentina, the military Junta and their civilian allies ended the left Peronist “revolutionary” project (already under attack from the Peronist right) and replaced it with a rightist “process” of their own.
This article aims at briefly reviewing some of the main contributions on the transformations and role of the labor movement during the dictatorship in Argentina from 1976 to 1983. The analysis of the historiography will distinguish three main sub-periods: the 1980s, marked by the transition to democracy in Argentina; the 1990s, a decade during which neoliberal reforms were applied with full strength; and the post 2001-crisis, a time of economic growth and complex transformation of the academic sphere. It will examine approaches to two different complex and heterogeneous actors: the working class, its political and social role, as well as the labor force; and the trade-union movement, as the institutional organizations supposed to represent labor interests. In dialog with the historiographical analysis, the last part of the article will summarize some of the main existing open questions, as well as the possibly fruitful lines of research ahead.
This article analyzes recent Brazilian scholarship on workers and trade unions during the military dictatorship (1964–1985), emphasizing the relative absence of studies and the neglect of worker organization. By focusing on working-class agency and the dilemmas the labor movement faced due to the regime's economic policies and fierce repression, this essay offers a better understanding of the political scenario after 1964. The second part of the article examines the themes of the most recent studies about workers and the labor movement during the military regime, emphasizing existing blind spots and future challenges for scholarship.
This article explores the trajectory of Chilean labor history and its recent efforts to study workers’ experiences under the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973–1990). Influenced by the impact of dictatorship on Chilean society as well as global historiographical debates, Labor Studies became an interdisciplinary and transnational field in Chile. This article focuses on the different academic traditions that have intersected with and contributed to the study of workers’ experiences under the dictatorship. It considers the multiple origins of New Labor Studies and includes the social history of both rural and urban movements, labor sociology, feminist historiography, and transnational history. It also looks at the multiple debates taking place in Chile and in other parts of the world. Bringing them together offers the opportunity to see the intersections, collaborations, and influences that have made the study of Chilean workers a dynamic field.