Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
Oral Presentation Session
Argentina’s conditional cash transfer program, the Universal Child Benefit, is arguably one of the best examples of this widespread social assistance model: it covers roughly one third of families across the country, it is efficiently and quite fairly administered, and its monetary value is relatively high making a notable difference in quality of life. The AUH, as it is known in Spanish, even seemed to have broad public support in the years after its 2009 introduction. Despite, or probably because of, all this, the AUH has become a key symbol and lightening rod in contemporary Argentine politics. It was a lynchpin of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s neo-Peronist “social inclusion” agenda. For her neoliberal (neo-neoliberal?) opponents, it was the prime example of populist vote-buying, producing layabouts. The AUH has thus become a central piece in the growing class antagonism characterizing the political climate in contemporary Argentina. This paper examines that process, and its consequences for working-class Argentines.