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First published online January 14, 2022

Work and Demand Making: Productionist and Consumptionist Politics in Latin America


How does the world of work in Latin America affect the way workers act to defend their interests? To what extent have “productionist” demands, those concerning jobs, work conditions, and wages, which are highly salient across the region, been “displaced” by consumptionist or political demands? While the literature has distinguished formal and informal work grosso modo, we explore individual traits of work, which cross-cut the formal-informal distinction. Analyzing survey data from four Latin American capital cities, we find, not surprisingly, that both work-based atomization and insecurity depress demand making in the work arena. But these traits of work also affect demand making on the state, albeit in somewhat different ways. Insecurity is associated with a shift from productionist to consumptionist and political demands, while atomization is associated with a more generalized demobilization across issues. These findings have implications for the representation of worker interests in light of current labor market restructuring and raise the question if labor can reclaim an important voice in that restructuring process.

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Article first published online: January 14, 2022
Issue published: September 2022


  1. demand making
  2. labor politics
  3. Latin American politics

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Published online: January 14, 2022
Issue published: September 2022



Brian Palmer-Rubin
Department of Political Science, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, USA
Ruth Berins Collier
Department of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA


Brian Palmer-Rubin, Department of Political Science, Marquette University, 1420 W. Clybourn Street Milwaukee, WI 53233, USA. Email: [email protected]

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