As a result of the elections this November the legalization of marijuana has increased to four states in the U.S. as well as the nation’s capital. More than 17 million people can now use the drug recreationally, not factoring the 19 other states that have passed medicinal cannabis legislation. Reform advocates saw the election as a win and momentum for the legalization in more states to come.
The ‘pink tide’ refers to the group of progressive governments elected in Latin America in the first decade of the 21st century. But it is an odd metaphor to use about elections. With its sense of powerful forces moving across the landscape, it is descriptive of how these new governments came to power – carried into the state by mass mobilisations from below. The question, however, is how far and in what direction can these governments go in transforming the region?
On December 1st, people across the globe raised consciousness about HIV/AIDS through World AIDS Day. This year’s theme, “Close the gap for an AIDS-free generation,” is a reason to celebrate in Latin America since antiretroviral treatment has reached over 600,000 people in the past decade. The Pan American Health Organization recently released a press report that states that cases of antiretroviral treatment have increased from 210,000 in 2003 to 795,000 in 2013.1
Last year, the Obama administration announced a new civil society initiative, Stand with Civil Society, calling for support of civil society groups across the world and acknowledging the role they play in pushing for citizen engagement, equity, transparency and accountability. These positive perspectives of civil society pushing for more democratic governance contrasts with more skeptical views that civil society may actually negatively impact the prospects for d
Millions of Latin Americans struggle with obesity, an epidemic that has hit this region with a stronger impact than most others in the developing world.
Among historians, Latin American independence has been and continues to be a thoroughly researched field. Beginning with the personal accounts of participants in the wars of independence published in the first half of the nineteenth century, decade after decade historians have produced a steady stream of scholarship on the events which gave birth to the multiple nations of the Americas.
A recent report published by the Deutsche Bank revealed that China is rebalancing their economy, creating potentially devastating effects for Latin America. The report highlights the declining growth of real GDP as China shifts from a production to consumption based economy. The shift will have the largest effect on countries that primarily trade natural resources with China. The lessening of dependence on Latin America for metals such as iron ore, copper and crude oil will specifically hurt Chile and Venezuela.
Starting in the 70s, during the 80s and, more decisively in the 1990s, most Latin American countries implemented reforms conducive to the instauration of neoliberalism, as much in an macroeconomic and institutional frame as in the organization of key social services. This included the privatization of public companies, removing foreign exchange controls, reducing import tariffs, reforming labor law, liberating capital markets, reforming the market for services and goods and negotiating free trade agreements.
More than ten years ago I started to reflect on how sociology is seizing Latin America as an object of study. My goal was to acquire more knowledge about sociology in and about Latin America. But, perhaps at least as importantly, my goal was also to understand how sociology is representing the region and how it is participating in its transformation. At a more conceptual level, I was interested in how sociology selects social problems and suggests social change. Ultimately, this is helping me forge opinions about knowledge and social sciences.