Penn-DCC Discussion of Post-Neoliberal Venezuela

The video of the discussion of my paper on Venezuela at the University of Pennsylvania’s Democracy, Citizenship and Constitutionalism Program is now available. Warning, it’s long. At two hours only serious Venezuela junkies will want to listen to the whole thing. Furthermore, it was a “workshop” which means there is no formal presentation but rather a discussion of a paper distributed ahead of time. Thus, if you haven’t read the paper it could be a little hard to follow.

After the introduction, I give about fifteen minutes of contextualization of the paper. For the next twenty minutes, Randall Collins, one of the great sociologists of our time, gives a response.

Since some people might be more interested in Venezuela than the social science (or vice versa), below I give a run down of the issues touched on when, so you can pick and choose.

0:00:00 Emilio Parrado’s introduction.

0:3:30 David Smilde’s contextualization of paper.

0:17:15 Critical discussion by Randall Collins: the work of Michael Mann; paper seems like economic and political determinism; revolutions—crisis mechanism vs. tipping points; Venezuela does not seem headed towards an easy transition.

0:39:15 Smilde’s response to Collins: Chavismo has the upper hand but declining popularity; ideology is probably more important than politics and economics; importance of concrete power networks; Chavismo as a revolution.

Open question & Answer

0:51:45 Pluralist vs. state-centered and elite perspectives; how to understand the petro-state.

1:02:40 Meaning of post-liberal democracy.

1:12:00 Charisma and the problem of succession; issues of polarization.

1:23:40 Continuing polarization; need for an opposition message; Chavista ideological messages as a response to technocratic 1990s.

1:34:20 Adverse context for the opposition and continuing divisions; continuing lack of popular engagement.

1:38:15 Indigenous & afrovenezuelan issues.

1:44:50 Multiple identifications and prioritization of class in Chavismo.