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University of Florida latinamericanist
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Latest issue consulted: Vol. 36, no. 2 (fall 2005).

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C'cnlcr fo.r Laim1


The University of Florida LATINA MER ICA NIST is a publication of the Center for Latin American Studies containing matters of scholarly interest and is distributed the first Friday of every month. Items for publication should be submitted to the editor, R. J. Toner, 450 Main Library, by noon of the Tuesday preceding the Friday distribution date. The editor reserves the right to select and edit all material. Colleges or other institutions interested in Latin American Studies which desire to be placed on the mailing list may apply by calling university extension 2224, or write: The Center for Latin American Studies, 450 Main Library, Univcrsity of Florida, Gainrst ill', Florida 32601.

Volume III, No. 4


Feature Article 1 News 4
Faculty 4
Visitors 5
Calendar Reverse side

married and has three children.


February 10, 1967


This month's research feature is written by Lee C. Fennell, a 32-year-old Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Florida. He is currently in Argentina conducting field research for his dissertation, "Class and Region in Argentina: A Study of Political Cleavage, 1936-1966." Fennell is

by Lee C. Fennell

AN ARGENTI14E CASE The need for more precise conceptualization in Latin
American political studies and the importance of relating them to the growing body of analytic theory in other areas of political science have been frequently cited in recent years. Merle Kling, for instance, has noted that political science research in Latin America often appears to "drift in an isolated channel of its own, with its s onsors perched along the banks of the more swiftly moving waters of the discipline." More recently, John Martz observed that "Latin Americanists have been inclined away from matters cof conceptualization, either from complacency or timidity, while the spirit of innovation and imaginative theory-building/has lagged."2 Many similar comments can be gleaned from the literature of the 1960s.

If Latin Americanists are to return to the mainstream of political science--and there are increasing signs of movement in that direction--they should selectively borrow and test concepts developed in the more "advanced" areas of the discipline as well as innovate Vhere none exist or fit. The purpose of this article will be to examine briefly the concepts of critical elections and voter salience as one example of a developing conceptual scheme which may be applicable to Latin America. Pertinent findings of recent U. S. studies will be outlined first, after which the concepts will be applied to a Latin American case--the continuing strength of Peronista voting in Argentina.

University of Florida

Cnter for Latin American Studies


Gainesville, Florida

__ o il CT i of Florida


Volume III, No, 4. February 10, 1967

The :ncept of critical elections, as formulated by V. 0. Key, Jr., holds that there is an election type "in whicA the dopth and intensity of electoral involvement are high,
in hich more or less Prof ound readjustments occur in the relations of power within the community, and in which now and du~rble electoral groupings are formed."3 The persistence of the realignment is said to be the most significant of the several characteristics In U. S, history, Key notes, the elections of 1896 and 1928 may be considered critical elections as they resulted in "a realignment within the electorate both sharp and durable)"4 The awtho: of a study of critical elections in Illinois, while sustaining Key's general findings, subsequently pointed out that the concept often can be more fruitfully applied to the study of a "critical period," covering perhaps several elections, rather than to single critical elections,

The concept is further refined in v recent article on ethnic voting patterns in New Haven, Cornecticut.6 Contoary to what might be expected under the prevailing "assimilation theory"7 of ethnic voting, the athor notes that the Italians in New Haven split their vote more or less even: between the two parties until the end of the 1930s. A sharp shift toward the Republican Party accompanied the nomination of an Italian as the GOP candidate for mayor in. 1939--the first Italian to win either party's nomination for a major city office-and over since the Italian wards have provided the heaviest Republican vote in the city, whether cr not there were Italians on the ballot. Thus there Was 3 "sharp and durable" realignment in the electorate which came only when the particular group saw the party struggle as salient, in this case through the GOP offering recognition to the Italians,

briefly, then, the conceptual y:.Thesis of these studies can be stated as follows: An electorate will on occasion axerlence an election or a series of elections in which a aharp and durable realignment of voting patterns will occur. The shift will usually result from sharply perceived valience of the election to class or group interests, but the new pattern will persist after the salience is gone and likely will last in some form until another "critical" election cr period brings a new realignment.


The Argentine election of 1946 met all of Keys criteria for a critical electign-intense involvement, profound powar shifts, and durable new voting alignments. By the same token, the twelve years between the 1943 golpe which launched Juan Pern's rise to power and the fall of his regime in 1955 can be viewed as a "critical period" in which the realignments most vivid in 1946 developed qnd solidified. Finally, salience appears to have played a vital part in the change,

Although the Argentine Socialist Party, founded in the 1890s, had made some notable strides in organizing and educating the workers, its intellectual orientation, European manner, and lack of strength outside of major urban areas resulted in an inability to incorporate the rural worker and the migrant class which began pouring into the cities in large numbers in the 1930s.9 Furthermore, the military-oligarchy coalition which dominated Argentina from 1930 to 1943 tended to suppress even that which the Socialists could accomplish under their limi&ations.

Per6n, seeing the potential of th, workers as a power base, offered a political style, economic benefits, and, most importantly, psychological rewards new to a major part of thn nation's working class. As Robert puts it: "He made them lose the feeling of inferiority and se:vility which many workers had felt toward their employers. e mode them feel not only that they were important, but that they were the most important group in the community. He made them feel a part of the civic life of the nation in a way which they had never felt before.:l0 In the words of an Argentine meatpacker: "Before 1945 we had nothing and we were nobody. Since 1955 we haven't had anything, either, but we know weT~e somebody, And because of him."ll Thus it was that for great segments of the working class, Peron was the first to offer political salience. And, like the Italians in New la%.nn, tho most salient issue was recognition.

In a nation whose fragmented multi-party system has seen frequent shifts of strength among parties and factions, the Peronista vote during the decade since Pern's fall has stood out for its consistency as well as its magnitude. Whether allowed to run their ova candidates or voting blank in protest against exclusion from the ballot, the PeronIstss since 1955 have consistently placed first or a close second with about a quarter of the total vote,12 With the exception of short-lived support for President Arturo Frondizi in 1958, allegedly the result of a Frondizi-Per6n pact, the Peronistas have repeatedly resisted attempts at coolaration by centrist and leftist parties courting their support0 Despite serious internal divisions and the appeals of other parties, the majority of Peronistas since 1955 have limited their choice to a Peronista candidate or a blank ballot.

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There are, of course, a number of other variables involved in the continuing strength of Peronismo in Argentina. But without denying the possible effects of such factors as charisma, the party system, and the schisms in Argentine society, it would seem that the concepts of critical elections and group salience offer a fruitful framework within which to analyze the case. To the extent that the concepts are valid and have been properly applied to the Argentine case, there is cause for speculation that the current military government may find difficulties in dissipating Peronista strength similar to those faced by support-seeking political parties during the past ten years, even if it succeeds in strengthening the nation's economy.

The aim of this article has been merely to suggest the possible applicability to the study of Latin American political systems of two related concepts developed in recent studies of U. S. electoral behavior. They will have to be tested in a number of Latin
American contexts before conclusions can be reached as to their suitability--in the 'present or some modified form--to the Latin -Americanist's methodological baggage. And even should the ultimate conclusion be negative, it is possible that fruitful alternative hypotheses will have emerged from the effort.13


Merle Kling, "The State of Research on Latin America: Political Science," in Charles Wagley (ed.). Social Science Research on Latin America (New York: Columbia University Press, 1964), p. 189.
2Johi jD. Avlartz, 'The Place of Latin America in the Study of Comparative Politics," Journal of Politics, XvIII '(February, 1966), 80.

3V. 0. Key, Jr., "A Theory of Critical Electiots," Journal of Politic-s, XVII (February, :1955), 4.

.Ibid.p. 11.

5Duncan Macrae, Jr., and James A. Neldrum, "Critical Flections in Illinois: 18881958," American Political Science Reiriew, 'LIV (September, 1960), 669-83.

6Raymond E. Wolfinger, "The Development and Persistence of Ethnic Voting," American Political Science Review, LIX (December, 1965), 896-908.

7The assimilation theory assumes that the strength of ethnic voting depends on the intensity of the individual's identification with his ethnic group. Ethnic voting patterns thus would be expected to be strongest in the early years after immigration and to decline over the years as members of the ethnic group improve their social and economic lot. Ibid., p. 903.
8A study of voting in the 1940s by various occupational groups in the federal capital shows a pronounced realignment in 1946, particularly among the workers, resulting in a sharper cleavage along class lines. See Gino Germoni, Politica e massa (Minas Gerais, Brasil: Universidade de Minas Gerais, 1960), pp. 121-43.

9For discussions of this point, see Torcuato S. Di Tella, El sistema politico
argentino y la clase obrera (Buenos Aires: Editorial Universitaria de Buenos Aires, 1964), and Dardo Cuneo, "Interpretaci6n de Argentina,' Polftica (Caracas), No. 40 (Junio-Julio, 1965), pp. 115-23.

10Robert J. Alexander, Prophets of the Revolution (New York: Macmillan, 1962), p. 250.

11Quoted in James W. Rowe, "'Whither the Peronista?" in Robert D. Tomasek (ed.), Latin American Politics (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, Anchor Books, 1966), p. 438. Emphasis in the original.

12Illustrative of this consistency is the fact that in 1957, the first nationwide balloting after the fall of Peron and the first of a series of elections in which the Peronistas were kept off the ballot, the blank vote total of 24.3 per cent was slightly above the winning Uni6n Cfvica Radical del Pueblo's 24.2 per cent, while in 1965 the m iajor Peronista party, the Uni6d Popular, had a slightly larger lead with 29.8 per cent
-compared -to the middle class UCRP's 28.5 per cent. Blank voting rps to insignificant

Volume III, No. 4,,February 10, 1967

levels in the elections in which the Peronistas are allowed to participate.

13For a brief discussion of the value of falsificatioi. in leading to broader theoretical formulations, see Roy C. Macridis, The Study of Ct mparative Government (New York: Random House, 1955), pp. 29-30.


Paul E. Koefod, Associate Professor of Economics, spoke to the Latin American Colloquium on January 25, on the concepts of economic development and take-off with reference to Latin America.

Professor Koefod emphasized that "economic development" is a systemic term, and must refer to the integration of the various sectors of the economy in the process of growth. Major areas of. Latin American economies e.g., thousands of villages must be brought out of economic isolation and, in coordinated activity, become contributing factors in a total process of growth. Thas development must come through an internal process of "cybernetic circular causation" among the endogenous factors of the economy, rather then through dependence upon external factors which affect only selected areas. The "take-off" process may require several generations; it can only be said to have been achieved when the .economy, as an integrated system, is 'generating its wn sources of growth and transformation,

Colloquium speaker on February 1 was Lambros Comitas, Professor of Anthropology of Columbia University, who described the interdisciplinary research done in Boltvia for the Peace Corps by a team from the Research Institute for the Study of Man.

The project, now in its third year the stage of analysis of data was originally projected as-an evaluative study of Peace Corps impact in Boltvia, through research in the fields of anthropology, epidemology, and sociology. In the field, a major part of the effort was directed to the studying of areas for the location of future- Peace Corps projects. The epidemological studies are the first in this field and will provide invaluable data for the Bolivian Ministry of Health, comparing health attitudes and folk-knowledge with the actual health pictdre in'the country. The anthropo-sociological study was defined in terms of two variables: the level of social stratification and the level of politicization of the people; on the basis of these variables it is
-expected that proper selection of communities can be made for specific types of projects. The most significant aspect of the whole program, however, was the experiment of bringing. these disciplines into a coordinated research effort.


L. N. McAlister, Director of the Center for Latin American Studies, reports that 118 applicants are being considered for NDEA Title VI Fellowships for 1967-68. The number of applicants per department is as follows: APY 1; AS 2; ES 9; GPY 6; HY 33; LAS 11; PCL 25; SH 17; SY 14. Awards will be announced about the middle of March.


Raymond E. Crist, Research Professor of Geography, led a seminar discussion at Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, February 9, on "Some Aspects of Regionalism in the United States as Reflected in Literature." On February 11, Dr. Crist was principal speaker and round-table discussant on a program on the Caribbean for the winter meetings of the Canadian Association of Geographers. His talk was "Caribbean Borderlands: Hist6rical Background and Economic Development."



A College of Nursing faculty member, two nursing supervisors and one doctor will leave on March 4 for a three-week visit to .the Hospital of the Universidad del Valle, Cali,

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Colombia. The team from the University's College of Nursing will observe nursing service and education in medical surgery, under the auspices of the Rockefeller Foundation.

*p *


Juscelino Kubitchek de Oliveira, former president of Brazil, who envisioned and built Brasflie and shaped much of Brazil's industrial development in the late 50's and the 601s, will speak at the University of Florida auditorium on the evening of February 20, on the topic, "The Future of the Alliance for Progress." The public is invited.

*~ *


Viktor Vollskii, geographer and director of the Latin American Institute of the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Moscow, spoke to graduate students and again to faculty members during a three-day visit to the Florida campus.

Professor Vol'skii described the programs of advanced study, with particular reference to Latin America. He stated wryly that the U. S. is behind in Latin American studies, with Russia even farther back. Three centers for these studies now exist in Russia Moscow, Kiev and Leningrad.

Explaining that Russia's interest in Tatin America is commercial, Professor Vol'skii
nevertheless affirmed that Latin America's economic needs cannot be separated from the political.

His visit to various centers in this country is sponsored by the Hispanic Foundation of the Library of Congress.



Paulo Ronai, visiting Associate Professor of Portuguese, began a series of five lectures on Brazilian literature at the January meeting of the Luso-Brazilian Club. The first lecture, "The Theater of Martins Pena," described this 19th century playwright's portrayal of Brazilian urban society in transition, with his Runyonesque characterizations and satirical exposure of the emptiness and hypocrisy of respectable traditionalism. The plays were shown to be goldmines for the folklorist, who finds in them in faithful detail, many of the folk customs .and celebrations fast dying out in modern Brazil.

Professor Ronai's second lecture, "The: Personalities of Cecilia Meireles, brought intimate glimpses into the character and thought of the late poetess who searched out the meanings of death and life as perceptively as any other modern Brazilian, and with enviable technical perfection.

The third lecture, "The 'Cronica', a Brazilian Genre," will be given on March 1.

*~* *


Florida receives another group of Brazilian students, as 30 recent graduates of the Law School of the University of the State of Espirito Santo arrive this week for three weeks of orientation into the American legal system.

Acting Associate Dean Robert C. Berry, of the Law School, said that the group of 20 men and 10 women is being brought here by the Bureau of International Hosts. The student leader, Paulo Roberto Guimaraes, is a young Brazilian who has worked with the U. S. Peace Corps in Brazil. Faculty advisers are Professors Valder Colares Vieira and Maria Teresa FeuRosa.

Mozart Victor Russomano, professor of Labor Law at the University of Rio Grande do Sul and author of several works on Brazilian labor law, visited the University of Florida College of Law this week for a first-hand familiarization with the Latin Armrican content of the Florida Law program.

Volume III, No. 4, February 10, 1967


Ramiro Valadao, director of the Casa de Portugal (Portuguese Information, Tourist and Trade Office) in New York, will visit the University of Florida on February 15, 16 and 17. Dr. Valad5o, who has degrees from European universities and has taught political journalism at Strassburg, has served in Portugal's national assembly and as director of its official information service. Dr. Valadao will have the opportunity of observing the expanding program of Portuguese studies at the University of Florida.


February 20: Lecture by Juscelino Kabitchek de Oliveira, former president of Brazil,
entitled "The Future of the Alliance for Progress." University Auditorium, 8:15 p.m. Public is invited.