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Latin America and the Cultural Consequences and Contradictions of Globalization

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For more content, please see Journal of Developing Societies.

This paper examines the impact of the twin forces of neoliberalism and globalization on culture in Latin America. It argues that the application of a neo-liberal economic strategy over the past 25 years and the increased integration of the region's economy into the global economy have led to changes in cultural values and lifestyles. There is much evidence to support the idea that the changes denote the diffusion of a US-style market culture, which values individualism, competition, and consumerism. Chile was taken as a case study, as it has the longest and most successful experience with the neo-liberal model and globalization in the region. In Chile, and elsewhere, there are notable changes in political culture, including a less partisan and ideological electorate, increased political apathy, especially among the youth, and campaign formats that emphasize style over substance. At the same time, more complex cultural mixtures are also emerging, in which, for example, new campaign techniques are used to reinforce traditional values. There is also increasing resistance to the application of neo-liberal economic policies and to globalization in the region, although it is unclear to what extent this opposition can stem the international tide.


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