Social engagement, citizen agency, and governance: toward a new democratic consensus in post-pandemic Latin America
This project seeks to understand how governments and citizen groups have organized responses to the COVID-19 crisis, and the social, political, and institutional dynamics that shaped responses in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico. It will assess how the pandemic and the responses to the crisis have affected the social contract between citizens and the state as well as the social cohesion among citizens.
The project places a special emphasis on how the pandemic has affected the ability of women and vulnerable populations to shape strategies in the context of the already high poverty rates of women, Indigenous people, and those of African descent. The groups most vulnerable to the economic and health impacts of COVID-19 are also the most likely to be politically marginalized during the crisis.
The project’s aim is to support improvements in the policies and practices of engagement with vulnerable groups for both civil society organizations and government agencies. It will identify both failings and innovations in governance by examining practices of citizen engagement, distinct political arrangements, approaches to policy co-creation, and the use of technology as a tool for connecting state agencies and policymakers to the public. It will highlight models of leadership and governance in response to the crisis. It aims to strengthen civil society-led initiatives, incorporate new innovations, and help mobilize the agency of vulnerable groups. Finally, the activities will inform discussions about how to revitalize democratic politics amid declining public trust in traditional political institutions.