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Ursinus College

Publication Date

Spring 2016

Program Name

Argentina: Social Movements and Human Rights


Argentina has always been a country where migration has influenced the nation’s identity. Although migration from bordering countries towards Argentina is a phenomenon that dates back to the beginnings of the nation, since the 1990s this migratory phenomenon has been the most visible in the country, especially migration from Bolivia. The visibilization of these migrants, who do not always share the characteristics of the hegemonic Argentine (the figure of the son of white European immigrants), caused in the 1990s a surge of discrimination and social rejection. Combined with the continued existence of the restrictive “Videla Law,” a migratory law from the last military dictatorship, the human rights of the migrants who entered the country were denied. After the social crisis of 2001, the government of Néstor Kirchner replaced the Videla Law with a new migratory law, Law No. 25871, in January 2004. This migratory law aims to guarantee the human rights to all migrants in Argentina, including the right to a life without discrimination.

Despite this migratory legal advance, it is clear that discrimination towards migrants, including Bolivian migrants, remains in everyday life in Argentina. This project studies the case of the neighborhood in Buenos Aires city of Flores, where Argentine born residents and Bolivian migrants live together. It utilizes the qualitative method of personal interviews with residents born in Argentina, a Bolivian migrant, and a key informant to examine the forms that discriminatory representations take toward Bolivian migrants in four dimensions: criminality, the job market, cultural customs, and access to social rights. The analysis of these dimensions discussed in these interviews reveal that discriminatory representations toward Bolivian migrants, created and reinforced through the construction of them as “racialized others” and the repetition of collective imaginaries about migration in Argentina and about the migrants themselves, remain in the discourses of the Argentine born residents in Flores.


Family, Life Course, and Society | Immigration Law | Inequality and Stratification | Latin American Studies | Politics and Social Change | Race and Ethnicity


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