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Open Access Faces of Modernity in the Architecture of the Peronist State, 1943–1955

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Faces of Modernity in the Architecture of the Peronist State, 1943–1955

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Within the context of Peronist expectations regarding culture, the article examines three cases of architectural and urban projects that displayed various kinds of articulation in terms of promotional policies, state institutions, intervening technology, the urban aspects involved, and the architectural aesthetics proposed. The works are interpreted—with respect to their aesthetic forms and images and the political content they transmit—as materializations of the new order envisaged by Peronism. Each of the case studies highlights different visualizations or aspects of this new order. In conceptual terms, all of the characteristics manifested by Peronist cultural production were also observable in the projects of inter-war dictatorships, especially those of Italian fascism. Clearly, given the period in which Peronism came to power, it is anachronistic to locate the architectural programmes which it hosted within the political categories of ‘inter-war dictatorship’ or even ‘fascism’. Nevertheless, seen through the lens of these two categories, it can be shown that the ethos of Peronism falls within the framework of the fascist era, due to its promotion of grandiose visionary projects for national renewal expressed through the transformation of the built environment on a scale characteristic of the two fascist regimes. Such projects mythically elevated Perón and Eva Perón to the level of leaders of the Argentinian people, whom they both saw as an organic entity, socially harmonious, rooted in the history of the nation and, in international terms, decidedly placed the nation on the road to the “third position” pioneered by fascist movements before 1945 in which tradition and modernity were reconciled in a form of modernism termed by Roger Griffin ‘rooted modernism’.

Affiliations: 1: University of Quilmes / CONICET, aballent@unq.edu.ar

10.1163/22116257-00701005
/content/journals/10.1163/22116257-00701005
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Within the context of Peronist expectations regarding culture, the article examines three cases of architectural and urban projects that displayed various kinds of articulation in terms of promotional policies, state institutions, intervening technology, the urban aspects involved, and the architectural aesthetics proposed. The works are interpreted—with respect to their aesthetic forms and images and the political content they transmit—as materializations of the new order envisaged by Peronism. Each of the case studies highlights different visualizations or aspects of this new order. In conceptual terms, all of the characteristics manifested by Peronist cultural production were also observable in the projects of inter-war dictatorships, especially those of Italian fascism. Clearly, given the period in which Peronism came to power, it is anachronistic to locate the architectural programmes which it hosted within the political categories of ‘inter-war dictatorship’ or even ‘fascism’. Nevertheless, seen through the lens of these two categories, it can be shown that the ethos of Peronism falls within the framework of the fascist era, due to its promotion of grandiose visionary projects for national renewal expressed through the transformation of the built environment on a scale characteristic of the two fascist regimes. Such projects mythically elevated Perón and Eva Perón to the level of leaders of the Argentinian people, whom they both saw as an organic entity, socially harmonious, rooted in the history of the nation and, in international terms, decidedly placed the nation on the road to the “third position” pioneered by fascist movements before 1945 in which tradition and modernity were reconciled in a form of modernism termed by Roger Griffin ‘rooted modernism’.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22116257-00701005
2018-05-05
2018-10-20

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