The present research project – from an interdisciplinary perspective and through a series of questions that raised the socio-economic structure and the incidence of political instances in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean – aims to generally identify, analyze and explain the processes of economic transnationalization in the region, examining in detail the implications of this configuration both in the economic and social plan and in the game of interests and the making of public decisions both internally and externally.

The period under study ranges from the beginning of the Latin American and Caribbean debt crisis in 1982 to the present. In this way, the work faces us with the characteristics of imperialism’s action under different economic models and its consequences in different territorial contexts.

Project Period: 3/13/2017 to 8/1/2023

Director: Fernando Romero Wimer

Financial aid: UNILA (12/17/2019 to 12/15/2019) PRPPG-UNILA Notice N ° 80/2019



The Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) is a sub-regional integration project that was born on March 26, 1991, after the signing of the Treaty of Asuncion by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Although this bloc was developed in fact as a customs union, the Treaty of Asunción contained a series of ideas for achieving deep integration, including around basic and higher education. Therefore, it is noted that since the beginning of MERCOSUR, political institutions and measures aimed at education have been created, including with regard to the recognition and revalidation of university degrees and graduate degrees.

In this project, we want to examine the case of educational integration in MERCOSUR, with an emphasis on countries in the tri-national region: Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. More specifically, we want to address the phenomenon of educational transnationalization, mechanisms and limitations of recognition and revalidation of university and graduate degrees, the validation of peoples in the Triple Border, and its impact on the subjectivities of the actors involved in the approval process.

In methodological terms, we will resort to the triangulation strategy, using qualitative research techniques, especially, surveying and analyzing primary and secondary written sources, and conducting interviews.

Project Period: 11/19/2018 to 11/16/2020

Director: Paula Fernández Hellmund

Financial aid : UNILA (12/04/2018 up to 12/04/2020) Public Notice PRPPG-UNILA N° 137/2018



The Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) is a sub-regional integration bloc that was born on March 26, 1991 after the signing of the Treaty of Asunción by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Its background is a series of previous negotiations and agreements between Argentina and Brazil, such as the signing of the Buenos Aires Act between the two countries in 1990 (KAN, 2013, RAPOPORT; MADRID, 2011).

The regional and global context of the bloc’s emergence was characterized by the advance of neoliberalism and the process of globalization of capital (ASTARITA, 2006), trends that were already visible in the 1980s. Within this framework, integration projects and agreements regional “sought consensus around the elimination of obstacles to trade, be they tariffs, subsidies or any type of protectionist tax” (KAN, 2013, p. 168). MERCOSUR was not immune to these dynamics, emerging with economic objectives and developing as a customs union (KATZ, 2006).

However, MERCOSUR was not only reduced to issues of a commercial nature, but various themes were taken up again and different secretaries, institutes, sub-organs, working groups and subgroups were created (See MERCOSUR organizational chart) .

However, the countries that make up MERCOSUR are also characterized by presenting asymmetries among themselves (economic, social, territorial, among others), which have generated internal tensions (KATZ, 2006; KAN, 2013; KAN, 2015). These tensions and contradictions have been expressed throughout the 30 years of the bloc and have been borne in different ways depending on the type of conflict, the movements and interests of the local ruling classes and the character and approach of the governments in power, putting in crisis to the bloc on several occasions. In this way, the dynamics of the block has not been homogeneous throughout its history, being able to observe at least four moments:

1) Neoliberal MERCOSUR (1991-1999): within a framework of open regionalism, in this period it was the large transnational corporations established in Brazil and Argentina that benefited. At this time, a common tariff and customs rebates were established, and a division of labor was validated that would lower manufacturing, sale, and transportation costs (KATZ, 2006).

2) The Crisis of the Treaty (1999-2002): in a context of loss of markets and diminishing profits, the capitalists questioned the limits imposed by MERCOSUR to trade with other countries. After the 1999-2002 crisis, MERCOSUR regained strength, but under the command of the local capitalist groups that had survived the crisis (KATZ, 2006).

3) Post-liberal MERCOSUR 1 (2003-2015): some South American governments were characterized by combining a certain neoliberal continuity with heterodox regulations to favor local bourgeoisies (KATZ, 2006). This break with the neoliberal model of the 1990s implied the relaunch of regional integration processes and the establishment of goals linked to social inclusion, productive development and social and citizen participation (BATISTA; PERROTTA, 2018).

1 Several specialists in regional integration refer to the aforementioned period as post-liberal or post-hegemonic. In this regard, the researcher José Antonio Briceño Ruiz (2013, p. 11) points out that José Antonio Sanahuja, Pedro da Motta and Sandra Ríos use the expression post-liberal regionalism, while Pía Rigorizzi prefers to use the expression post-hegemonic regionalism.

4) New liberal-commercialist course of the block (2015-current): the post-liberal stage began to close with the parliamentary coup in Paraguay (2012). Subsequently, the assumption of economically neoliberal and politically and socially conservative governments, such as the governments of Mauricio Macri in Argentina (2015-2018) and Michel Temer (2016-2018) in Brazil, consolidated the trend in the region. These characteristics were expanded with the presidential assumption of Mario Abdo Benítez (2018-current) in Paraguay, Jair Bolsonaro (2019-current) in Brazil, and Luis Lacalle Pou (2019-current) in Uruguay. This led to a liberal turn of the MERCOSUR and a return to the guidelines of open regionalism (CAETANO, 2019).

In order to understand this last phase, the period on which our research proposal focuses, it becomes necessary to quickly review the global dynamics of the 21st century, which are not similar to those of the 1990s. In this regard, the researchers /as Fernando Romero Wimer and Paula Fernández Hellmund (2020, p. 18) observe: a) a strong role of the European Union (EU) at a global level but marked by “unrest caused by the consequences of the international economic crisis, (… ) the distrust of its institutions that was expressed in Brexit and the rise of right-wing populism”; b) the shift in the national and international policies of the United States (USA) during the Donald Trump government (2017-2021): protectionism, stagnation of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations, the cancellation of US participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership for economic cooperation, the rethinking of relations with Russia and Asia, the renegotiation of NAFTA and the withdrawal of the Paris Agreement on climate change (ROMERO WIMER; FERNÁNDEZ HELLMUND, 2020, p. 18). A part of these policies is related to “strengthening the US economy in key sectors of the metallurgical and manufacturing industry, particularly those linked to the military-industrial complex, combining a protectionist strategy with an escalation of the arms dispute with Russia and a trade war with China. ”(ROMERO WIMER; FERNÁNDEZ HELLMUND, 2020, p. 18). Finally, this topic leads us to a third element to consider:

Understanding the “multiplicity of dimensions and variables that affect a social process” (DE SIERRA, 2001, p. 11), this project proposes to investigate, from an interdisciplinary and multidimensional perspective, economic, political, sociocultural, territorial and environmental issues within MERCOSUR in recent years and the incidences that the international context and relations with other nations and blocs have on the Mercosuran case. Based on its results, the project foresees the development of propositional instances for the societies and State policies of the member countries, in order to contribute to the resolution of problems and complex issues of the MERCOSUR integration process.

More specifically, the project focuses on four axes of work: economic, agrarian question, the educational question and the environmental problem.

Bibliographic references

ASTARITA, R. Value, market and globalization Buenos Aires: Kaicron, 2006.

AZCUY AMEGHINO, E. The agrarian question in Argentina. Characterization of problems and proposals. Interdisciplinary Journal of Agrarian Studies , no. 45, p. 5-50, 2016.

BATISTA, J.; PERROTTA, D. Mercosur in the new regional political scenario: beyond the situation. Challenges , no. 30(1), p. 91-134, 2018. (Consulted in: February 2018).

BRICEÑO RUIZ, J. Axes and models in the current stage of regional economic integration in Latin America. International Studies , no. 175, p. 9-39, 2013.

CAETANO, G. New directions for MERCOSUR. The change of model and the consequences of the Brazilian crisis. In: International Forum , no. 1, square 235, p. 47-88, 2019.

DE SIERRA, G. MERCOSUR as a multidimensional process and how to study it from the Social Sciences. In: DE SIERRA, G. The faces of MERCOSUR The difficult road from the commercial to the societal . Buenos Aires: CLACSO, 2001, p. 11-19.

KAN, J. A particular relationship. Ruling class, government and origins of MERCOSR. In: KAN, J; PASCUAL, R. (Ed.). Integrated (?) Debates on international relations and Latin American and European regional integration . Buenos Aires: Imago Mundi, 2013.

KAN, J. Integration from above. Argentine businessmen facing MERCOSUR and the FTAA. Buenos Aires: CICCUS-Imago Mundi, 2015.

KAN, J; JAQUENOD, A; PASCUAL, R. (Eds.). Between the global and the international. Critical Perspectives on the State, the World Market, and International Relations . Buenos Aires: TeseoPress / IESAC-UNQ / ICSE-UNTDF, 2020.

KATZ, C. The redesign of Latin America. FTAA, MERCOSUR and ALBA Buenos Aires: Luxemburg, 2006.

RAPOPORT, M.; MADRID, E. Argentina-Brazil: from rivals to allies . Buenos Aires: Intellectual Capital, 2011.

ROMERO WIMER, F. History, current affairs and prospects of Mercosur-European Union relations. In: CABALLERO PARRA, F.; GIACALONE R.; VIEIRA POSADAS, E. (Eds.), Latin American and European regional integration in the 21st century: framework for reflection on its present and future. Bogotá: Cooperative University of Colombia, Center for Global Thought, 2019, p.221-249.

ROMERO WIMER, F.; FERNÁNDEZ HELLMUND, P. A look at agriculture and agro-industry in the MERCOSUR-European Union agreement. In: ROMERO WIMER, F. (Comp.). The MERCOSUR-European Union Strategic Association Agreement. Studies from Latin America . Bahía Blanca/Foz do Iguaçu: CEISO/GIEPTALC, 2020.

ROMERO WIMER, F.; SENRA, P. Diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Oriental Republic of Uruguay (1988-2020). Interdisciplinary Journal of Social Studies , v. 20, p. 53-87, 2020.