Dr. Mauricio Dimant
Teaching Fellow, Department of Romance and
Latin American Studies, The Hebrew University
"Populism, Peace and Ethnic Minorities: The Political Leadership of Arab Descendants in Populist Parties and Their Role in Contexts of Violence in Latin America"
Populism has been extensively researched, especially as a political challenge in democratic societies. In the last years a new interest has arisen in its characteristics as a result of the recent economic and social crises that affected different parts of the world. Despite the important work and interest in Populism, little has been discussed about the role of populist leaders of ethnic-migrant minorities in contexts of violence. How, and to what extent, the membership in an ethnic minority - and thus their need to legitimize their belonging and political leadership - affect their decisions in relation to political conflicts and violence.
This question will be examined by an historical comparative analysis of the decisions of Arab descendant populist political leaders in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico dealing with terrorist/guerrilla violence in the 70's and 80's. How did they effect, as populist political leaders, socio-political processes of peacebuilding.
This research is part of a broader analysis of the complex political participation of ethnic-migrant minorities during the last process of democratization in Latin American, which I have been doing in order to deepen the understanding of the experience of ethnic-migrant minorities in the difficult and sometimes contradictory relationship between inclusion/recognition and violence in Latin America. At the same time, this research analyzes the relationship between ethnicity and politics "from above", a relationship that has not received sufficient attention in the studies on populism and ethnicity in Latin America. From this perspective this project seeks to contribute to the ethnic and political historic studies in the Global South.