Seguridad pública y neoconservadurismo en la Argentina neoliberal: La construcción social de la "inseguridad" durante los años noventa: "combate a la delincuencia", "tolerancia cero" y "mano dura"


Rev. Sociol. Polit.




The paper investigates the social construction of "insecurity" in a public-political problem in the second half of the nineties. First it reconstructs a history of neoliberalism and its consequences in Argentina, which has its starting point in civil-military dictatorship (1976-1983), and pays particular attention to the hyperinflationary period of the late eighties, when discourses about "insecurity" emerged. Then, it examines in detail the ways in which in the specific period of analysis the problem of "insecurity" was conformed as a major concern of public opinion, one of the crucial issues in political disputes and was introduced as a priority in the Menem administration's agenda through a media and political campaign of "fight against crime" ordered in terms of the "iron fist" and "zero tolerance". It is analysed the way in which such construction was generated through the production and mass circulation of social discourses at the public-political communication sphere. The methodology consists of a sociocultural approach that considers social "problems" as constructions and a perspective of discourse analysis focused on their "performativity". From this point of view the productive capacity of social discourses depends on its disposition in certain regimes of knowledge and power relations and the positions of enunciation of the different social actors within the disputes that shape the hegemonic discursive formations. Through this research is demonstrated that "insecurity" was a form of representation in terms of crime and policing of social conflict and was the vortex of a discursive matrix that legitimized a neoconservative paradigm for managing the social consequences of neoliberal economic restructuring and operated as a reproductive mechanism of social exclusion. The results achieved illuminate a fundamental aspect for the understanding of the transformation of Argentine society associated with neoliberal reform of the State.

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