When accountability is not enough! Survival strategies of Argentinian state agencies in times of political change
Paper short abstract:
Argentinian state agencies which fear for their continuation after a change of government do not rely on the usual forms of accountability but employ additional survival strategies in order to underline their relevance. These strategies are inspired by methods of the human rights movement and NGOs.
Paper long abstract:
When in 2015 the right wing government of Mauricio Marci took office in Argentina state agencies and programs that had been initiated under the previous left wing government of Cristina Kirchner feared for the continuation of their activities. Among these state agencies is ATAJO, the territorial agency for access to the Justice, a program that was initiated by the Attorney General in 2014 and which aims to facilitate the access to the juridical system to the most underserved sectors of society. In order to protect the program from possible reforms, staff reduction, or cessation the employees and creators of ATAJO meticulously fulfilled the requests for accountability and collected all required statistical information. But they did not solely rely on the standard modalities of accountability but employed additional strategies to underline the programs' performance, impact and relevance. In this paper I will illustrate the alternative forms of accountability, the strategic coalitions and the attempts to increase the visibility of the program. I will show that the 'survival strategies' can be interpreted as an expression of a skeptical perspective on standardized forms of accountability. Furthermore, I will highlight that the state agency is inspired by methods and strategies that have proven to be effective in the efforts of human rights movements and NGOs. Thus, I use the ethnographic example to discuss the overlapping field of accountability and political activism.
Investigating accountability: practices and performances [LAW NET]