Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Lunch with LAGO featuring Gabriel Chouhy

December 6th, 2019
12 - 2 PM

Location
The Labyrinth: Cafe & Gathering Place, 7102 Freret St, New Orleans, Louisiana 70118

Join the Latin Americanist Graduate Organization (LAGO) on Friday, 12/6 at 12pm for the latest installment of their bi-weekly lunch series. Gabriel Chouhy, Zemurray-Stone Post-Doctoral Fellow – Latin American Studies, will give a short presentation on his recent dissertation, Education Experts, Intellectual Movements, Left Parties: Three Essays on Neoliberal Politics in Chile and Beyond. Afterwards, we’ll open the floor for a Q & A, allowing for further conversation about Gabriel’s work, more practical questions about the dissertation research process, and navigating the world of academia after completing a PhD program.

The Labyrinth will be serving mini paninis, bagels, savory spreads and dips, desserts (including tres leches cake) and fresh juices. Please come hungry!

Gabriel Chouhy’s Dissertation Abstract:

The three essays of this dissertation contribute to debates over the role of experts and technologies in the construction of market-oriented institutions regulating social life. I look at the historical contingency and specificity of neoliberal knowledge and ideas. Across diverse cases, I examine how the authority of market-minded experts and the policy devices experts create are embedded in social relations that yield historically distinct effects.

The first essay examines the political determinants of the metrics employed to govern markets. I trace how education experts in Chile—a global exemplar of market-minded technocracy—turned political decisions about how to organize the school market into a matter of technical choice over statistical measures of school quality. Despite their efforts to use putatively neutral decision technologies to produce at least the appearance of fairness and impartiality, Chilean experts could not dodge taking sides in the debate over education privatization. By building politicized judgments into presumably objective statistical models, experts can sometimes insulate themselves from political scrutiny and often shield contentious decisions from public deliberation and democratic accountability.

The second essay examines the transnational processes through which forms of market-minded technocratic governance—such as Chile’s—became globally dominant. I make the case that neoliberalism itself can be thought of as a social movement, rereading its intellectual history through such well-honed tools of movement scholarship as “political opportunities”, “frame alignment”, and “mobilizing structures”. I show the deep debt contemporary capitalism owes to the organizing praxis of a transnational network of market-fundamentalist scholars, philanthropists, gurus, and intellectuals who, interestingly, relentlessly refrained from collectively asserting an “identity”.

The third essay takes a comparative approach to understanding the national conditions under which market-oriented regimes become more or less entrenched and institutionalized. I focus on the trajectories of Left parties and their relations with states and democratic institutions in Chile and Uruguay, and unravel the historical determinants of neoliberal resilience. My comparison shows that how political parties fit political agendas to the contours of conflicting interests in civil society enhances or limits their ability to check the otherwise unfettered expansion of market forms of governance, regulation, and social provision.

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