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Social framing of Latin American regionalism

Sergio Boisier

The evolution of Latin American thought on development and regional planning from 1972 to 1991 is outlined. The main theories which explain development policies in that period are presented, and a Latin American school on this subject is proposed.

The study covers a 20-year time frame beginning in 1972 with the Viña del Mar International Seminar (Chile) up to 1971 with the Santa Cruz de la Sierra International Seminar (Bolivia). The Viña del Mar International Seminar focussed its debate on development poles, in an environment of epistemological divorce from the past.

The Santa Cruz de la Sierra Seminar took place in a very different context. The topics under discussion showed a shift in the way in which regional problems were viewed. Decentralization, international placement, and technological change, replaced urbanization, industrialization and growth poles as policies.

The situation in the professional field in the early 90's is more complex than 20 years ago. Regional development is connected with sustained social-economic change aimed at pushing up the region, the community, and the individual. Political and social framing of the region demands both a leading and encouraging role from the government.

Between the initial and final framework, intermediate scenes are embedded, i.e. the meetings held in Mexico (1978), Bogota (1979) and Santiago (1989). Changes on the subject appear through these events --from agricultural to regional issues; development variants and regional problems; the territorial impact of scientific and the technological revolution.

The main authors of the above-mentioned scenes are Boisier & Matos; Coraggio; Rofman & Uribe-Echeverría; and Caso, Daher, Gatto, Hadad & Silva. Some authors have "withdrawn", whereas others have remained. In the course of time, disappearing paradigms have left these professionals without clear referents. Therefore, the present is, rather than a claim environment, a search one.

During this period, Latin American authors have published at least 20 books. The list of works attached to the paper shows that they attend a small, difficult-access market. In any case, efforts at original creation by these authors should not be abandoned. This would explain a related Latin American school in the midst of continuous asynchrony between theory and reality.

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