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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Publication Date

Fall 2012

Program Name

Argentina: Regional Integration, Development, and Social Change

Abstract

For nearly two centuries, Argentina has constructed a national identity which manages to remain culturally and ethnically homogeneous by ignoring the vibrant community of Afro-Argentineans and their rich contributions to society. However, recent waves of African immigrants and the growing self-awareness of the Afro-Argentinean community are raising questions about what it means to be Argentinean in the context of increasing global mobility. The new focus on human rights visible in Argentine politics over the past decade has brought about changes which seem to indicate a transition towards a more multicultural society. Despite widespread ignorance and racism which permeate all levels of Argentine society and complicate the implementation of egalitarian regulations, the country remains a humanitarian example in a world where repatriations of illegal immigrants and the denial of access to fundamental human rights to asylum seekers are becoming commonplace. In this context, the present investigation examines the successes and challenges of the integration of recent African immigrants in the larger Argentinean society, taking as an example the growing numbers of young Senegalese men who sell bijoux in the streets of Buenos Aires. Although serious barriers to their successful integration remain, the investigation identifies several positive trends which suggest that Argentina might be in the process of overcoming its initial challenges and shift towards an intercultural concept of citizenship.

Disciplines

Demography, Population, and Ecology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Latin American Studies | Politics and Social Change | Race and Ethnicity | Social and Cultural Anthropology

 

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