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date: 22 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The history of Latin America cannot be understood without analyzing the role played by labor movements in organizing formal and informal workers across urban and rural contexts.This chapter analyzes the history of labor movements in Latin America from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. After debating the distinction between “working class” and “popular sectors,” the chapter proposes that labor movements encompass more than trade unions. The history of labor movements is analyzed through the dynamics of globalization, incorporation waves, revolutions, authoritarian breakdowns, and democratization. Taking a relational approach, these macro-dynamics are studied in connection with the main revolutionary and reformist strategic disputes of the Latin American labor movements.

Keywords: labor movements, trade unions, working class, popular sectors, neocorporatism, territorialism, social question, incorporation, neoliberalism, democratization, Latin America

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