Visions of 'The New Argentina': Political Culture, Images and Peronist doctrine (1950-1955)

Juan Pablo Artinian (Stony Brook University)
8 October 2013

This paper analyses the cultural production of Peronism from 1950 until his fall in 1955 across a variety of visual sources — among other culture artifacts — such as popular magazines, posters, paintings, statues, and flyers. Peronism’s creation of a new political culture played a fundamental role in both the structuring of a historical narrative and the demarcation of the social and political arena. Peronism’s “aesthetization of power” marked a new way of projecting and practicing politics in Argentina and Latin America. In an era that preceded the so-called “society of the spectacle,” Perón’s government created a new visual culture for the nation in which representations of the leader, “the people,” and their enemies clearly illustrated the political conundrums that roiled Argentina. Visuals created a clear picture of the political factions that confronted each other throughout the country. This paper, as a part of a larger project, has made a special effort to publish and analyse previously unpublished images. Sketches for quixotic Peronist projects, such as a monument to Eva Perón that was projected to be 137 meters tall, which would have made it larger than the Statue of Liberty, were also scrutinized. This paper will address the boundaries of the social and political scene of those years using four well-defined approaches: first, a meta-discourse, or narrative, on what the government considered “popular culture” and how it might be disseminated; second, a representation of its leaders; third, its images of Perón and Evita and their relationship to the people; fourth, its representations of the enemies of Peronism. The outcome of these cultural confrontations was a transformation of the representational forms employed in Argentine political discourse and the emergence of a new political language, one that can still be identified in everyday Argentine political discourse.

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