Title: Scrutinizing the Gray Zones: Dynamics of Collective Violence in Contemporary Argentina
Name: Javier Auyero
Department of Sociology
SUNY at Stony Brook
Year: 2005
Type: Research Grant

Close to three hundred stores and supermarkets were looted during week-long food riots in Argentina on December 2001. Thirty four people were reported dead and hundreds injured. Among the looting crowds, activists from the Peronist party (the main political party in the country) were quite prominent. During the lootings, police officers were conspicuously absent--particularly when small stores were sacked. Through a combination of archival research, statistical analysis, and multi-sited fieldwork, and taking heed of the perspective of contentious politics, this work provides the first available analytic description of the origins, course, meanings, and outcomes of the December 2001 wave of lootings in Argentina. The research scrutinizes the gray zone where the actions and networks of both party activists and law enforcement officials meet and mesh. The research, furthermore, makes a case for the study of the gray zone in less spectacular, but equally relevant, forms of political activity. Clandestine connections between established political actors, I argue, count in the making of collective violence and in routine political life.

Bibliography: Auyero, Javier. "L'Espace des luttes." Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales 160 (2006): 122-132.

Auyero, Javier. Routine Politics and Violence in Argentina: The Gray Zone of State Power. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Auyero, Javier. "The Political Makings of the 2001 Lootings in Argentina." Journal of Latin American Studies 38 (2006): 1-25.