Work and the Post-Crisis: Artistic Representations of Claustrophobic Labor Spaces in Argentina (2001-2011)
Gowan, Ian Pope
University of Kansas
Spanish & Portuguese
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This dissertation treats a variety of works of Argentine theater, film, and narrative produced between 2001 and 2011, a historical period that serves as the context for the playwrights, directors, and authors studied in this project, as well as for the characters that they depict through their fictional works of art. Common to each of the artistic representations analyzed is a special emphasis placed on a claustrophobic labor space, which I read as a microcosm for Argentine society. This unique setting represents a space from which to establish a critical reflection of the physical, social, racial, and sexual limitations confronted by Argentine citizens of the post 2001 economic crisis. The decision to focus on the suffocating conditions encountered by these characters represents a strategy employed by artists of recent years in order to highlight the lasting detrimental impact of the economic crisis on the country for a full decade after the climax of said economic downturn, despite moderate socioeconomic and political reforms employed during the Kirchner years (2003-present). Although there is not an easily identifiable political discourse shared by artists and texts treated in this project, the emphasis on the problems faced by Argentina of recent years is no doubt a strategy by which to highlight the failure of the neoliberal system employed by Carlos Menem (1989-1999), which arguably resulted in the current situation, and the inability to construct an alternative system capable of providing the country's citizens (especially of the lower and middle class) with a full socioeconomic recovery from the events of 2001.
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