Marcos E. Pérez, “Proletarian Lives: Routines, Identity, and Culture in Contentious Politics” (Cambridge UP, 2022)

What drives and sustains participation in unemployed workers’ movements in Argentina? Today’s guest, Marcos Perez, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Washington and Lee University and author of the new book, Proletarian Lives. Routines, Identity and Culture in Contentious Politics. Marcos talks about how he came to study “piquetero” organizations that emerged in the late 90s and early 2000s, but have retained their influence for decades. He describes his participation in the organizations’ unremarkable daily tasks, and how he came to understand their importance to the lives of working-class participants who felt like economic collapse had robbed them of their blue-collar routines. He discusses the life history interviews through which he came to understand the importance of participation in the context of the rest of their lives, and finally talks about the books that have inspired him.

Alex Diamond is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Texas, Austin. Sneha Annavarapu is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago.

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