4-5 April 2019
University of Leicester
The Politics of Identity in Latin America Society for Latin American Studies
• Society for Latin American Studies Annual Conference 2019 Paper accepted for delivery in April 2019: “Us and Them; a volunteer’s view of South America, their role in divided societies where corruption fills the headlines.”
Tina Lawlor Mottram US AND THEM: A volunteer’s view of South America (Brazil and Argentina); their role in divided societies where corruption fills the headlines.
This abstract compares the role of non-paid volunteers in the UK to those in Latin America.
A comparison with the role of volunteers, low paid workers and pensioners in modern Argentina and Brazil. Based on recent travels in Buenos Aires and also São Paulo and Minas Gerais provinces as an unaccompanied woman, my observation is that political corruption was seen as simply part of the status quo, the big divide between Us and Them. In the UK the “Big Society” was supposed to replace state funding, and here poverty and differences between rich and poor have trebled in the years since the 2008 financial crash. Volunteers in both Latin American countries worked without funding, for the general good of the community and/or benefits-in-kind in Argentina. Starting in Sorocaba (Brazil) my trip then progressed to Buenos Aires capital and province and this discussion is based on contemporary volunteers, with photographs and interviews from projects in both countries. The trip ended in Minas Gerais, looking at agriculture, women at work and throughout the trip, I noted graffiti, headlines and demonstrations I observed. This trip, undertaken in August-September 2018, offers commentary from a non-native visitor, working as a volunteer in Argentina and researching for articles for publication in the interior of Brazil. Newspaper headlines, the devaluation of the peso in Argentina, the failure of the abortion legislation, political graffiti, the stabbing of Bolsanaro – the voice of the people will be shown visually and discussed in this presentation. Identity for many in both countries is also duality; their European passports an ability to travel and also their link to the old world. A reflection perhaps of the scramble for European passports by UK citizens with any older heritage? An interesting discussion to be had!
o An autobiographical blurb
Tina Lawlor Mottram; graduate from Limerick School of Art in Ireland; postgraduate London College of Printing; Spanish degree (equivalent) DELE C1 Cervantes Institute in London. She lived in Barcelona and Madrid for 10 years, where she studied one year of Nahuatl (Complutense University), also working as a volunteer in BASIDA, Aranjuez. www.basida.org. Current tutor in Spanish in MACLS, https://www.macls.com/ and writer, photographer with NUJ press card. This paper will present work recently completed as a volunteer in a 3 week period in Buenos Aires province in Zona Imaginaria: www.zonaimaginaria.com.ar including interviews with local firefighters and artist communities. More information www.serpentinacreations.com.