Dr Christopher Wylde

Contact details

Dr Christopher Wylde
Position/Fellowship type:
Visiting Fellow
Fellowship term:
01-Sep-2016 to 31-May-2017
Institute of Latin American Studies
Home institution:
Richmond University
Email address:

Research Summary and Profile

Research interests:
Globalization & Development, Politics, Social Sciences
South America
Summary of research interests and expertise:

 Previous Research Projects

1) De la Crisis de 2001 al Kirchnerismo

Comprehensively revised and updated in the context of the rise of Mauricio Macri, this translated version of Argentina since the 2001 crisis is published by leading Argentine academic publisher Prometeo. Focusing on the Kirchner's as a political regime and using the election of Mauricio Macri to the presidency of Argentina as a key point of departure, this book looks to understand the Kirchner era in its entirety, recognising that its form and character were fundamentally shaped by the nature of the 2001 crisis.

2) Argentina since the 2001 crisis

Bringing together contributions from both emerging and established scholars, this volume explores the myriad effects and legacies of Argentina’s 2001-02 social, economic and political implosion and is unique in its interrogation of the nature and effects of crisis. It seeks to reject false dichotomies of ‘old’ and ‘new’; instead synthesizing them in order to incorporate both elements of continuity and elements of change into its analysis. The authors assert that responses to crisis do not only involve the merging of old and new, but that they are also, concurrently responses to both old and new problems – many of which were evident in the 1990s and earlier. Crisis is shown to manifest itself in a number of realms – political, economic, social – and the responses to it and associated recovery are thus analyzed and interpreted through a myriad of lenses in order to adequately capture the nature of the salient dynamics that are present within them. In this way, the volume seeks to adopt a more nuanced approach to analyzing Argentina since 2001 as well as crisis more generally.

3) Latin America After Neoliberalism

The multiple-faceted crisis of 2001-02 in Argentina spelled the end of IMF domination in Argentine economic policy. The post-crisis administration of Nestor Kirchner abandoned IMF tutelage and instead embraced the principles of neodesarrollismo, fundamentally reforming the role of the state in the market, in society, and in its intersection with global capital. Greater state involvement in the market and a renegotiation of the Peronist social contract served to fundamentally alter the political economy of post-crisis Argentina, and facilitated a dramatic economic recovery that continued until the global financial crisis from 2007 onwards. Brazil’s post crisis (1998) economic performance has also been commendable, and now represents one of the countries that is considered to be a powerhouse of the future (exemplified by its ‘BRIC’ status). As in Argentina, there have been important economic changes that have facilitated changes in Brazilian political economy in general, making a transition from neoliberal policies and forms of political economy in the 1990s to a distinctive new form of political economy under the premiership of Lula.

Such recoveries bring into question the continuing efficacy of neoliberal political economy in post-crisis states, and sharpen focus on the role of the ‘developmental regime’. This book therefore seeks to place the Argentine crisis of 2001/02 and the Brazilian crisis of 1998 in the context of crisis in general, both in regional and global settings. The post-crisis responses of Argentina and Brazil will be analysed in respect of regional responses – given the regional process characterised as the ‘Rise of the Pink Tide’, and identify any theoretical implications that result from such an investigation. In addition, such processes will be analysed from a global perspective – comparing and contrasting post-crisis political economy in Latin America with that in East Asia and Europe/US. Therefore, can the developmental regime model be applied to Latin America more broadly, and does it represent a helpful meta-theoretical model for understanding contemporary Latin American political economy? What are the implications for post-crisis recovery of the Developmental Regime model when compared to other forms of political economy: namely neoliberalism.

Project summary relevant to Fellowship:

The Beginning of the End, or the End of the Beginning? Post-Neoliberalism in Latin America

Research on the Latin American ‘Pink Tide’ and its concomitant development trajectories has produced a blossoming literature. Concern with the nature of continuity and change in the political economy of Pink Tide states in order to understand underlying power relationships embedded in social relations has led to the characterisation of a ‘new’ political economy of ‘post-neoliberalism’ (Wylde, 2016). The ideology of neoliberalism has dominated the study of governance. This is because it constitutes a framework for understanding not only the trajectory of developmental change and the nature of the economic strategies of governments and international organisations, but also, more broadly, the ‘ideological forces and structures of political power which have driven forwards a particular conception of the relationship between markets, states, and societies in the contemporary period’ (Phillips and Payne, 2014: 4). Yet it is also true to say that patterns of governance – at all levels of analysis – are inherently unstable and in flux. From the 1990s onwards in particular, global crises and events have rocked the neoliberal boat, some of which continue to be felt today. From the global financial crisis and its attendant impact on the Eurozone and current turmoil in Emerging Markets, to the longer-term processes associated with rising powers such as China and the concomitant impact on constellations of power and authority across international organisations and other agents of neoliberal hegemony, the neoliberal world order and assumptions that underpin its conceptual foundations have been undermined and thus become fragile.

These cracks in the armour of neoliberal hegemony should not be overstated. Rather, they should signal the need to take change seriously and to critically challenge contemporary modalities of thinking around the study of governance and its associated conceptual, theoretical, and empirical challenges. Post-neoliberalism represents a response to that challenge. It emerged as an analytical category with which to investigate attempts to articulate a new political economy of development in Latin America at the turn of the century (see, for example, Macdonald and Ruckert, 2009; Grugel and Riggirozzi, 2012; Yates and Bakker, 2013). Subsequently, it has been used as a framework for understanding developments in governance at local, community levels (Larner and Craig, 2005), at national levels beyond Latin America (see, for example, Challies and Murray, 2008), as a framework for understanding the Global South in general (Sandbrook, 2011), as well as for developing an understanding of changing contours of power at the level of global political economy (Strange, 2014).

It is towards this project of the continuing maintenance of the theoretical rigour that underpins empirical analysis of post-neoliberalism that my own research is directed. Post-neoliberalism brings with it new theoretical challenges. In order to accurately map the contours of these transformations and the new political economy that underpins them, the concept of post-neoliberalism itself must be augmented with a theoretical framework for understanding the state. Analysis of state theory facilitates a focus of the related concepts of autonomy and capacity, which act as conceptual tools that generate deeper understandings of relations of power that underpin post-neoliberal states. As well as new domestic constituencies in the wake of social and structural change, post-neoliberal regimes have had to deal with the realities of globalisation, its characterisation fundamentally within the neoliberal paradigm and the subsequent realisation that there is little room for an anti-systemic model. The different interests of the new constituencies that constitute the post-neoliberal social contract must be understood not only in the context of domestic crisis and economic change, but also through the lens of globalisation and the interests of different fractions of capital.
The rise of left and left of centre regimes across the Latin American continent generated a number of attempts to characterise and understand the form and nature of the attendant modes of capital accumulation. Commonalities associated with the re-articulation of developmental trajectories were empirically observed, facilitating the term post-neoliberalism to help capture them. This has been best defined by Grugel and Riggirozzi (2012:3) as:

‘more than simply the return of the state in terms of the economy... it is also a call for a new kind of politics, rooted in, and responsive to, local traditions and communities and an attempt to forge a new pact between society and the state’

It can be seen from this broad definition that post-neoliberalism is constructed on two mutually reinforcing pillars: ‘a set of political aspirations centred on “reclaiming” the authority of the state to oversee the construction of a new social consensus and approach to welfare, and [a] set of economic policies that seeks to enhance or “rebuild” the capacity of the state to manage the market and the export economy in ways that not only ensure growth but are also responsive to social need and citizenship demands’ (Grugel and Riggirozzi, 2012: 3)[italics in original].

The first of these pillars is expressed in terms of the return of the state as a central actor in the development process. The neoliberal state aspires to a minimal role for the state – wary of even minimal intervention in areas such as public goods. Whilst there is clearly a role to play in terms of enforcement of principle’s such as the rule of law and private property, the issues of rent seeking and capture of the state by private interests are great enough to be wary of any form of state intervention in the market mechanism. The post-neoliberal state in this respect can be seen to be closer to that of classic developmental state theory. Active industrial policy – both in micro terms in the form of specific sector subsidies and macro form through active management of the exchange rate – is more the norm, with targeted state assistance in domestic markets. This assistance is of course limited, as a result of both legacies of neoliberal ideology and the (not so) residual institutional forms that reproduce those relations, as well as the forces of neoliberal globalisation, always shaping the ‘limits of the possible’ (Santiso, 2006) in IPE.

The second pillar of post-neoliberalism concerns its political project, and is best expressed in terms of a state-society dichotomy. In other words, the drive towards a ‘new’ social consensus in Latin American post-neoliberal states can best be understood in the context of aspects of state theory that seek to reflect on the socio-economic relations that underpin any political project. Under neoliberalism societal relations are abstracted away from the state in a drive to separate the two. However, Polanyi demonstrated that the creation of a market state requires a market society – or in the contemporary context a neoliberal state requires a neoliberal society. Mapping the contours of a post-neoliberal society in the context of a post-neoliberal state therefore becomes imperative. Such contours include a more inclusive form of welfarism that moves beyond a lexicon of austerity and self-help, plugging the social lacuna left by such principles of neoliberalism through a more socially inclusionary, or ‘capacity building’ model of welfare. Capacity building in this context conforms with Sen (1999) and his concept of ‘human capabilities’: a notoriously difficult concept to define but perhaps best distilled down into development in poverty reduction, improvements in health and education, enhancing democracy, and more participatory and inclusive forms of welfarism and corporatism. However, given the nature of both the domestic institutional legacy of neoliberalism, and the ever present forces of neoliberal globalisation, the limited nature of this shift cannot be overemphasised. The post-neoliberal state does not represent a radical departure from neoliberal concepts of society and welfare, although a limited shift towards more inclusive social contracts is sufficiently distinct to justify the existence of a chronological successor to the neoliberal state in contemporary Latin America.

To call post-neoliberalism a new paradigm is somewhat of an overreach; but just calling it a package of simple economic policies is also misleading (Leiva, 2010: 34). As such, the term post-neoliberalism attempts to capture the important ways in which Latin America has tried to shift the terms of the development debate away from a narrow embedded neoliberalism (Cerny, 2010), whilst at the same time understanding the relatively limited nature of this shift – especially in the contemporary context of globalisation and the ‘limits of the possible’ (Santiso, 2006; see also Nem Singh, 2014: 336). As such, it has a subtle understanding of the form and nature of governance in the Twenty-First Century – at least in terms of the levels of governance debate. This is because what post-neoliberalism draws attention to is a simultaneous repositioning of the state both in terms of domestic social contracts and international political economy; a repositioning that manifests itself in a specific public policy profile. This public policy profile can be characterised as developmental, although with characteristics peculiar to each state given their different institutional and historical legacies of previous models of development and political economy – not least neoliberalism. These peculiarities require fine grained, grounded analysis of individual countries in order to establish the mechanisms by which different constellations of public policy emerge.

An explosion of research in this area has generated a widespread multi-disciplinary literature, rich in empirical depth and grounded in nuanced and appropriately historicised understandings of the Latin American continent. Recent developments in the economic fortunes of some of the emblematic Pink Tide states - i.e. Venezuela, significant electoral defeats in others - i.e. Argentina, and political crisis amidst charges of corruption and impeachment - i.e Brazil, suggest a waning effect on the tide. Rather than suggesting an end to the study of post-neoliberalism and its attendant regimes, these developments merely highlight the need to further understand the processes that underpin the empirical changes experienced in those countries, across the continent, and even globally. As such, post-neoliberal governance offers a research agenda, and continues to do so, focused on the action and interaction of both diachronic and synchronic processes associated with governance across a range of actors and issues.

My own research to date has explored these changes in the context of Argentina (2011, 2012, 2014, 2016) and Brazil (2012), and collaboratively in Argentina (Levey, Ozarow and Wylde, 2014, 2016) with current strands of research further examining Argentina and Malaysia (Wylde, forthcoming a) as well as Latin America more broadly (Wylde and Cannon, forthcoming). In addition, I am in the process of making a contribution to the more general, student focused literature in the form the Routledge International Handbook of South American Governance (Riggirozzi and Wylde, forthcoming), combining general co-editorship with my own chapter contribution on post-neoliberalism itself (Wylde, forthcoming b). Furthermore, on the back of the highly successful conference “Swinging back? Winds of change after a decade of the Latin American Left”, generously funded and hosted by an ILAS Conference Grant in March 2015, we are working towards an edited volume (tentatively titled ‘Post-neoliberalism: Theory and Practice in Latin America and Beyond’), in order to continue the research into understanding the new political economy of post-neoliberalism across Latin America.


Cerny, P. (2010) Rethinking World Politics: A Theory of Transnational Neopluralism, (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Challies, E. and Murray, W. (2008) Towards post-neoliberalism? The comparative politico-economic transition of New Zealand and Chile, Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 49(2), 228-243.

Grugel, J. and Riggirozzi, P. (2012) ‘Post-neoliberalism in Latin America: Rebuilding and Reclaiming the state after Crisis, Development and Change, 43(1), 1-21.

Larner, W. and Craig, S. (2005) After Neoliberalism? Community Activism and Local Partnerships in Aotearoa New Zealand, Antipode, 37(3), 402-424.

Leiva, F.I. (2010) ‘Towards a Critique of Latin American Neostructuralism’, in Smith and Gomez-Mera (eds.) Market, state, and Society in Contemporary Latin America, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford: 33-50.

MacDonald, L. and Ruckert, A. (2009) Post-Neoliberalism in the Americas, (Hampshire: PalgraveMacmillan).

Macdonald, L. and Ruckert, A. (2009) Post-Neoliberalism in the Americas (Basingstoke: PalgraveMacmillan).

Nem Singh, J.T. (2014) ‘Towards Post-neoliberal Resource Politics? The International Political Economy (IPE) of Oil and Copper in Brazil and Chile’, New Political Economy, 19(3), 329-358.

Payne, A. & Phillips, N. (2014) Handbook of the International Political Economy of Governance (London: Edward Elgar).
Riggirozzi, P. and Wylde, C. (forthcoming) Handbook of South American Governance (London: Routledge)

Sandbrook, R. (2011) Polanyi and Post-neoliberalism in the Global South: Dilemmas of Re-embedding the Economy, New Political Economy, 16(4), 415-443.

Santiso, J. (2006) Latin America’s Political Economy of the Possible: Beyond Good-Revolutionaries and Free-Marketeers, (London: MIT Press).

Sen, A. (1999) Development as Freedom (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Strange, G. (2014) Towards a New Political Economy of Development (Basingstoke: PalgraveMacmillan)

Wylde, C. (2011) ‘State, Society, and Markets in Argentina: The Political Economy of Neodesarrollismo under Néstor Kirchner, 2003-2007’, Bulletin of Latin American Research, 30(4), 436-452.

Wylde, C. (2012) Latin America After Neoliberalism: Developmental Regimes in Post-Crisis States (London: PalgraveMacmillan).

Wylde, C. (2014) ‘The developmental state is dead, long live the developmental regime! Interpreting Nestór Kirchner’s Argentina 2003-2007, Journal of International Relations and Development, 17(2), 191-219.

Wylde, C. (2016) Post-Neoliberal Developmental Regimes in Latin America: Argentina under Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, New Political Economy, 21(3), 322-341.

Wylde, C. (forthcoming a) Emerging Markets and the State (Basingstoke: PalgraveMacmillan)

Wylde, C. (forthcoming b) 'Postneoliberalism' in Riggirozzi, P. & Wylde, C. (eds.) Handbook of South American Governance (London: Routledge)

Yates, J.S. and Bakker, K. (2014) 'Debating the post-neoliberal turn in Latin America', Progress in Human Geography, 38(1), 62-90.

Publication Details

Related publications/articles:

Date Details
01-Apr-2016 Post-Neoliberal Developmental Regimes in Latin America: Argentina under Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner


 Wylde, C. (2016) Post-Neoliberal Developmental Regimes in Latin America: Argentina under Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, New Political Economy, 21(3), 322-341.

01-Apr-2014 The developmental state is dead, long live the developmental regime! Interpreting Nestór Kirchner’s Argentina 2003-2007


 Wylde, C. (2014) ‘The developmental state is dead, long live the developmental regime! Interpreting Nestór Kirchner’s Argentina 2003-2007, Journal of International Relations and Development, 17(2), 191-219.

01-Mar-2012 Latin America After Neoliberalism: Developmental Regimes in Post-Crisis States


 Wylde, C. (2012) Latin America After Neoliberalism: Developmental Regimes in Post-Crisis States (London: PalgraveMacmillan).

01-Sep-2011 State, Society, and Markets in Argentina: The Political Economy of Neodesarrollismo under Néstor Kirchner, 2003-2007


 Wylde, C. (2011) ‘State, Society, and Markets in Argentina: The Political Economy of Neodesarrollismo under Néstor Kirchner, 2003-2007’, Bulletin of Latin American Research, 30(4), 436-452.

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