Peronismo and the Body



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Peronismo and the Body

Look at the all the films to see how her body is constructed

Integrate peronism and its history

Integrate the philosophy of peronismo

The history of Eva Peron’s body

Use the films to see how

Body, peronismo, popular culture? connection between peronismo and Bo/Sarli

-role of peron and the church and sexuality


Daniel James, “Peron and the People”

  • siding with lower classes

  • James develops a nicely argued piece about the philosophical ideology behind Peron

  • he contextualizes the beginning of the Peron movement to the “decada infamy” began after the 1930 coup on Yrigoyen.

  • ISI by the mid 1930s argentina was an industrialized economy - the effects of this new economic reality meant that “new members were now drawn from the interior provinces of Argentina …They were attracted to the expanding urban centres… By 1947, some 1,368,000 migrants from the interior had arrived in BA attracted by he rapid industrial expansion.” 274

  • this rapid expansion of the economy did not benefit the working class - James argues that in fact there existed cynicism and fear of loosing jobs

  • coup of 1943 - Peron was the secretary of labour

  • he began to address some of the concerns of the working class and eradicating the competitors in the working class

growing working class support for person first crystallized on October 17, 1945 demonstration that secured his release from confinement and launched him on the path to victory in presidential elections of Feb 1946

-before Peron - influence of organizationally fragmented labour movement on the working class was limited

-argues that from 1943 to 1946 improvements in the working conditions and social legislation but it’s from 1946-1955 where most profound effect on the working class’ position in argentine society

-increase in the organizational strength and social weight of the working class

-rapid increase in the extension of trad unionism 1948 risen to 30.5% and in 1954 to 42.5%.

-contracts in period from 1946-48 regulated wage scales and job descriptions and also included a whole array of social provisions concerning sick leaves, maternity leave and cations

-very important was the role of the state in overseeing and articulating this structure of the trade unions- gave the union rights and most importantly made the state the ultimate guarantor of and overseer of this process

-unions conduits of government policy among the workers

-role of incorporating the working class into the state

-at first saw workers as inexperienced dupes

-revisionists saw them as logical involvement of labor in a state directed reformist project that promised labor concrete material gains- shift from passive manipulated mass to class conscious actors being a realistic path for satisfaction of material needs

BUT james argues that there is a new allegiance - that’s why examines political vision of Peron and nature of his rhetoric

-appeal was Peron’s ability to redefine citizenship - started with Yrigoyen -struggles against the oligarchy which was undone during the decade inflame mainly in the provinces - not the capital

system of institutionalized fraud and corruption



  • cynicism - crisis of legitimacy

  • rights of citizenship had long existed since the saenz pena law of 1912

  • -peronism was a claim of reestablishment of recognized rights

  • recast the issue of citizenship in a new social context

  • extended citizenship to participation in social and economic life of the nation

  • not in the abstract “liberty” democracy etc. - he argued that these masked inequities

  • beyond philosophical idea of democracy - real life focus in material conditions

  • premised recognition of the working class as a distinct social force that demand recognition

  • the state was a space where the workers as a class (not isolated individuals) could act politically and socially to establish corporate rights

  • elements of personalist caudillismo but the basis for the support is that affirmation of the social and organizations strength of the working class

  • also absorbed strands of nationalist thought Argentina potency in contrast to Argentina granja

  • this dichotomy was not accurate

  • working class recognized in his espousal of industrial development a vital role as an actor in greatly expanded public sphere

  • made social justice and national sovereignty credible interrelated themes rather than simply enunciated abstract slogans

  • the people became the working people the nation and the workers

  • nationalism in terms of concrete economic issues

  • -glorified everyday and the ordinary as sufficient basis for the rapid attainment of a juster society

  • appeal was plebeian eschewed need for enlightened political elite

  • tango lyrics and la vieja

  • adjectives chabacano and burdo to describe his supporters and Peron

  • -utopian but credible

  • Peron cumple

  • present with the past - saviour from that past humiliating and frustrating time

  • -reality where everything is corrupt and bad

  • while commercialization can cloud and make a tenuous relationship between the people and the culture - BUT the immense popularity of these tangos among the working class attest to the fact that whatever the manipulation of the culture industry- responded to certain attitudes and experiences recognized as authentic

  • CONTINUATION IN THE BOOK

  • peronist discourse ability to articulate these unformulated experiences was the basis oaf its heretical power

  • descamisado - terms now become central to the new language of power

  • working clothes and took term inverted by Peron

  • “Wel with Peron we were all machos”

  • attenmpt to instituionalize and control the heretical challenge and absorb the challenge within a new state sponsored orthodoxy

  • from state to works to go peacefully “from home to work and from work to home”

  • -iculcate notions of class harmony

  • efficacy of official ideology depended on its ability to tie in with working-class perceptions and experiences

  • marked critical conjuncture in the emergence and formation of the modern argentine working class

  • its existence and sense of identity as a coherent national force

  • rehtoric as a most convenient vehicle to satisfy its material needs

  • remained a heretical voice giving expression to the hopes of the oppressed with the factory and byond as a claim for social dignity and equality

  • recognized the dangers of such ambivalence


Religious Liberty in Argentina during the First Peron regime, 1943-1955 David D’Amico

  • confuses the military government with Peron - conflation of dates and events - history

  • does not substantiate his opinions

  • many are just opinions without real evidence

  • from a protestant perspective and looking at protestant liberties

  • Catholic Action - organized in the 1930s fostered a hierarchy - nationalistic, right wing and fanatic- produced harassment of masons jews protestants and communists

  • Peron’s role in religious intolerance

  • letter issued by the archbishops in jan of 1945 - suggested the changes that would take place one month later and catholic religious instruction in public school had been instituted by he provisional military government

  • 1943 protestants sponsored 10-15 radio programs throughout Argentina

  • feb 18, 1945 all broadcasts were suspended

  • because: 1. radio waves belonged to state 2. catholicism is religion established by the state

  • 3. radio cannot be used to propagate views contrary to state 4. freedom of worship does not imply freedom to propagate evangelical views

  • 1949 the broadcasts were suspended for 5 years

  • 1947 the government purchased all private radio stations for national security

  • 1949 to 1954 freedom of press suffered and so did the radio programs

  • Peron in power from June 4, 1946

  • effected freedom to propagate by radio, to move and act without government checking personnel, finances, and property; to buy property and erect churches; compulsory catholic religious instruction in public schools and restrictions in evangelization of aborigines (THATS what he says!!!)

  • last year of Peron’s regime liberty was curtailed for catholics

  • claims that P endorsed religious instruction in public schools before 1946 election gave government money to endow seminaries and episcopal palaces subsidized eucharistic congresses raised the salaries of clergy and used clergy in government agencies

  • Catholic action was a significant political force after coup of 1943

  • 1954 there was a shift- why?

  • public pronoucements legislation offensive to the church physical persecution of clergy and burning os church

  • suppressing commission for religious instruction and legalizing both divorce and prostitution

  • activist priests were imprisoned, religious holidays canceled and and in April 1955 religious instruction in public school was suspended

  • may 1955 he was calling for constitutional convention to disestablish the church

  • overthrown in September

  • expulsion of papal nuncio from Argentina and Pope Pius xii excommunication of Peron

  • church’s alliance with the military and oligarchy to overthrow Peron was resented by peronistas


Review in Chasqui about Feminine body, mourning and nation by Viviana Plotkin

lots of good references for scholarship on Eva - look up for this scholarship

Beatriz Sarlo - La pasion y la excepcion 2003

Alicia Dujovne Ortiz Eva Peron 1995

Education and the Church-State clash in Argentina, 1954-55 Virginia Leonard

argument is that Peron’s conflict with the church was purposeful and


The New Cultural History of Peronism

Introduction” -Karush and Chamosa.

-gives a good overview of the scholarship on Peron


  • what are the peronist strongholds: industrial belt and secondary cities, small towns and rural communities and not in high and middle income urban districts

  • many of central images and rhetrical moves remain staples of political discourse

  • Halperin suggest the transformation was radical enough to sow seeds of brutal and seemingly unending conflict for decades

  • define it as cultural is to reframe it as an object of historical inquiry

  • he got into power with help of army, press, academia and the church who had aspirations of upward mobility but once economic development allowed this group meet its expectations the sectors abandoned the class alliance - Di Tella

  • Laclau talks about popular democratic interpellations oppositional to the ideology of the dominant bloc

  • Laclau and Ipola had uncovered the importance of peronist language

  • Daniel James -why Peron’s rhetoric and political style appeal to the people- bottom up approach resurrected the pioneering research - focus on reception revealed potential for a culturalist approach

  • popular consciousness is not determined by interests that are in some way prior to discourse nor is the state an autonomous and omnipotent actor able to shape identities - cultural history must reconceptualize this encounter

  • there have been some good cultural analysis but their reliance on relatively simplistic historical accounts have weakened their arguments i.e. cultural studies is not historical enough

  • actors engaged with multiple discourses in a struggle over meaning avoids dominance and resistance more dynamic process of hegemonic processes

  • he proposes cultural history as a way of studying politics -encounter between masses and state

  • constructed own identities with engagement with peronist project as they pushed and pulled it in new directions

  • threat to the enemy was the invasion of the migrants and attract on traditional hierarchies

  • gendered aspects of peronist discourse

  • intersection between state, market and masses

  • -contraditions that characterized peronism toppled class hierarchies yet upheld bourgeois respectability and aesthetics

  • mobilized the masses yet it instituionalized itself and allowed the masses to have power within the state

  • embraced the cabecitas engross but it emphasized snappishness

Populism, melodrama and the market” M Karush

-revisit the period before 1943 to uncover cultural elements that provided discursive material out of which the heretical appeal was built

-traces connections melodramatic mass culture in 1930s and political appeals crafted by person between 1943 and 1946

-argues that Peron was able to appropriate discursive elements that circulated in mass culture and refashion them into powereful political appeal

commercial imperatives reinforced the heretical meanings implicit in argentine melodrama encouraged conformism and quest for upward mobility

populism was outcome of particular pattern of mass cultural development

-basis for his discourse idea poor as teachers of the rich - one asectct of peronism’s heretical inversion of hierarchy and anti intellectualism characteristic of the movement

BO WAS ANIT INTELLECTUAL TOO

-binary moralism is moleramatic and he argues lies in the mass culture of 1930s

-1930s (influenced by Irigoyen) wealth functioned as a sign of malice - tango plot

uses films to show this

-Peron’s insistence on equating workers, pueblo and nation reproduces mass culture’s depiction of hard working long suffering poor as authentic argentine

-use of lunfardo and his tango tropes

-he argues that Peron appropriated and rearticulated discursive elements and in so doing transformed them

-catholic social thought offered one possible source for this notion as well for rejection of individualism and bourgeois materialism

-catholicism experienced a resurgence in 1930s

-Manuel Romero and Luis Cesar Amadori and in tango Francisco Lomuto and Enrique Santos Discepolo promoted peronismo

-pressure to compete with jazz reinforced the authenticity of tango

-three claims of authenticity in tango: rooted in the past, it was melancholy and rooted in popular not elite culture= sadness, resistance to moderbnity and affiliation with plebeian

-tango and melodrama = systematically depoliticized social conflicts and contradictions by transposing them onto stories of frustrated love

-during the 1930s a new international tango became popular told stories of love and betrayal less rooted in the suburbs

-market power of hollywood tightened local cinema’s claim of argentine popular culture

-effort in the late 1930s to attract more elite audiences

-but melodrama persisted

-society divided between selfish rich and noble poor

-Romero transformed class conflict into morality tales but insisted on siding with poor

-poor represented the nation and the past

-mass culture was ambivalent oscillating between heretical and conformist views

-says that ambivalence originated in mass culture of 1930s

-peronismo gave collective a sense of upward mobility without them thinking they were selfish as it was not frame in individual mode

-not about accepting the status quo -absence of factory workers in the movies and omnipresence of nostalgia reflected a deep disjuncture between authenticity and modernity

-authenticity compensated poor for fatalistic acceptance of subordination

-poor as primary beneficiaries of industrialization

-would appropriate melodrama’s worldview without its fatalism


  • articulate authenticity and modernity

  • WHERE IS BO IN REGARD TO AUTHENTICITY AND MODERNITY? HIS TEXTS ARE MELODRAMATIC AND THEY TALK AOBUT THE WORKERS BUT HOW DOES HE CHANGE THINGS

  • -limits were consequence of having built his movement from melodrama rather than marxism

  • contradictions : active role in history but stay off the streets

  • once in control of the state he reverted to discipline and social control.

  • -mass culture visceral anti elitism as it de politicized class conflict and suggested futility of social transormation.

  • says that peronisms assault on social harmony betryas its roots i would disagree as social harmony was maintained****

Peronists and Cabecitas: Stereotypes and Anxieties at the Peak of Social Change” Natalia Milanesio



  • cabecita- not being clean, using poor people’s clothes, being ignorant, behaviour based on instinct

  • also being a peronist

  • originally an argentine bird

  • emerged in mid 1940s

  • by 1947 17% had migrated from the provinces where they were born and 68 percent of the migrants had settled in buenos aires

  • examines the construction of stereotypes of popular classes during person’s government representation of persist as violent, uneducated, vulgar and criminal cabecitas engross to middle and upper class antiperonists

  • anti peronisma is central to the compressive understanding of peronism

  • considers this stance as a constructed ideology that operated through stereotypes of political opponent grounded in a cultural bias

  • response from this sector to the threat to urban lifestyle, class identity and social status

  • anxieties over invasion of cities, interclass coexistence in public spaces and safety and property, loss of exclusivity and inability to command respect along with portrayals of lower class as aggressive, criminal, ignorant, intruding and insolent

  • both sides represented these people in a similar manner although they assessed and interpreted in radically contrasting ways

  • Peron avoided ethnic or racial language suborning it to class consciousness and loyalty

  • -vulgarity and unacceptable behaviour - grasa which means greaser

  • someone of very cheap and bad taste

  • negros is another term -

  • denounciation of race was illegitimate given nazi

  • class bias was a sound strategy

  • condemning internal migrants lifestyle meant prejudices against the interior

  • folklore and music and dances was proof that city known for its taste for european culture was changing

  • October 17, 1945 was stressed how the suburbs had taken the centre

  • violent horde or the montonera a group of mounted gauchos they were the last expression of Juan manuel de rosas and his plebe and irigoyen and his chasm

  • loss of exclusivity of the city and places of mar del plata

  • alpargatas became a symbol of person’s sympathizers- linked to rural inhabitants the shoe came to represent urban industrial worker rural labourer and poor

  • descamisado was masculine - referred to to ideologically close to Mussolini’s blackshirts and also recalled sans culottes of the french revolution

  • term comes from December 15 1945 a speech of Peron’s

  • descamisados did wear jackets three men soaking their feet in the fountain in plaza de mayo were wearing jackets

  • both sides constructed the image of persist as people in rags

  • for the elite is his people’s inability to follow etiquette rules inability to adapt to urban space and uncouth taste

  • for peron it was proof of poverty and marginalization

  • but this also proved that people could afford to buy clothes with higher salaries

  • sometimes it was hard to differentiate between the employee and employer as the working class was improving its standard of living

  • in 1950 working class wages had tripled and white collar salaries doubled while professional’s income remained unchanged

  • p69 female fashion women of popular classes abandoned rural outfits

  • chicas divitos curvy, exuberant bodies and extremely small waits - sensually exalted by body hugging tube skirts- style that would move from lower class women to higher class women

  • wore tube skirts and pants

  • rather than purifying tastes the lower classes were contaminating the tastes of the elites

  • men from outskirts bringing disorder and aggression that the oligarchy had inflicted on working class neighbourhoods with impunity for decades

  • zoological alluvion as caged racial inferiors and mindless uneducated creatures driven by primary needs, basic instincts and predatory appetites

  • menace to upper class masculinity -unruly rowdy men

  • attacked the legitimacy of the government by condemning the character of its constituency

  • migrants embodied a process of transformation that changed rhythms and appearance of principal cities, redefined social manners and codes of urban civility, broke with traditional standards of deference and respect, and liberalized norms of appropriateness and taste

  • stereotypes exposed anxieties and concerns about process of social economic and cultural change

Working Class Beauty Queens Under Peronism” Mirta Zaida Lobato, Maria Damilakou and Libel Tornay

during first period of person’s rule 1946-1955 there were 8 queens of labor for the annual labor celebration on first o f May

May day was initiated in 1890 by the most militant of workers

culmiinated in a criolla beauty rep of the union or regional industry

1955 these celebrations ended until 1974 and 1975 thoroughly transformed political, social and cultural life



-changes in 1970s

  • speaks to public exhibition of female body, plebeian royalty of monarchical representations and limited democracies

  • part of mass culture political spectacle that particular formulation of feminine beauty that could not be recuperated 20 years later

  • BECAUSE the conception of beauty had changed drastically from 1955 to 1974

  • faced with the traditions of may day - peronism produced a rupture and change in the meaning of the ritual

  • may day battle for control of social space

  • 1950 acquired celebratory tone until 1955

  • 1st in 1946 just 3 months after being elected meanings were not defined

  • Eva Peron and Juan Domingo Peron and Domingo Mercante (governor of province of BA) all led the parade- 1st time state led the parade -

  • became a day for celebration instead of the day for pain and misfortune

  • yesterday was protesters and police brutality

  • today was happiness and celebration

  • women were in photographs showing blisses of domestic life in harmonious homes, female nurse willing to give her life for others as a peronist symbol

  • replicated a certain type of beauty- argentine beauties- new era of happiness

  • analysis of the images- conflict to harmony

  • women good workers and beautiful

  • -1st contest organized by El laborista newspaper in march 1947

  • a political proposal for a popular mobilization that would end by honouring a working women as queen of work

  • in 1947 by cgt and government jury would include union leaders, peron, and even monsignor santiago copal the archbishop of BA

  • spectacle, politics, leisure,

  • the sceptre that they had was augmented by an industrial gear at is tip

  • criolla beauty- variation in hair colour but the queens were all fair skinned criollos with no other ethnic markers

  • feminine beauty as harmony

  • every job was honourable and deserved respect

  • embodied beauty and spirit of argentine people

  • industriousness and beauty

  • humility, beauty and kindness

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