Pablo Pryluka (HIS) & Lindsay Ofrias (ANT) | PLAS Graduate Works in Progress

Mar 31, 2022, 12:00 pm1:20 pm
Green Hall 0-S-6 (PU ID holders only)



Event Description
“Argentine Consumer Capitalism and its Discontents: Advertising, Television, and the Commodification of Attention"

Presenter: Pablo Pryluka, Ph.D. Candidate, History

In 1973, a new Peronist coalition won the national elections in Argentina. Facing inflationary pressures, the government regulated the advertising industry, in an attempt to mitigate consumerism. This policy was in response to a long-standing debate over the effects of advertising and TV on consumption patterns in Argentina during the 1960s and early 1970s. Like in many other corners of the world, local intellectuals and policymakers showed concerns about the pernicious effects of advertising on consumers. Nevertheless, unlike other countries, Argentina combined three elements that made these concerns unique. First, the expansion of the advertising industry, especially fast in the late 1950s and early 1960s, took place vis à vis the growing relevance of private television system. Both, advertising and TV relied on each other—private media required advertising investment to survive and therefore needed to create a faithful audience. For advertisers, on the other hand, television represented a new opportunity to reach consumers. The combined expansion of advertising and television broadcasting relied on the commodification of the spectators’ attention. Second, getting the public attention to increase sales did not go unnoticed—especially in the 1960s, topics like consumerism and alienation gained traction in the public sphere. Finally, these anxieties towards consumption and advertising loomed large in the regulations of the advertising industry enacted in 1973.

Pablo Pryluka is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History. His main fields of interest are modern Latin American History and Global History, with a focus on social and economic history. Pryluka's dissertation aims to provide a comparative analysis of patterns of development, consumption, and inequality in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile during the state-led industrialization years (1950s-1970s). The dissertation addresses the social performance of state-led industrialization and its impact on inequality, looking at patterns of consumption of three specific consumer goods: refrigerators, automobiles, and televisions. He is interested not only in who had access to these goods, but also both the meanings involved in their consumption and the expectations of consumers in terms of socioeconomic status.

Discussant: Tony Wood, PLAS Postdoctoral Research Associate and Lecturer

"Compensatory Politics"

Presenter: Lindsay Ofrias, Ph.D. Candidate, Anthropology

A rewriting of Ecuador’s Constitution in 2008 created inalienable rights for nature and new protections for Indigenous people living in zones of extraction, with a vision of the “good life” as premised on harmonic relations between society and nature. However, Ecuador’s oil frontier has grown significantly since then. Left-leaning governments have asserted the importance of the petrodollar for funding hospitals, schools and social services, while critiquing not the extractive endeavor itself, but rather transnational corporations’ disregard for Ecuadorian wellbeing. Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s president (between 2007 and 2017) who initiated a referendum that brought about the progressive Constitution, for example, proclaimed that new compensatory programs would turn the “curse” of oil into a “blessing.”  Drawing on ethnographic research with Amazonian leaders from several Indigenous nationalities as they contested, negotiated, and legitimated this “New Extractive Model,” this chapter examines how environmental conditions and gendered hierarchies shape leaders’ beliefs about what is politically desirable and possible. In doing so, Lindsay Ofrias reflects on the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) mechanism in the plurinational petrostate, the relationship between myriad forms of violence and compensatory politics, and her own positionality as a non-Indigenous (white, of Sicilian ancestry) researcher.

Lindsay Ofrias is a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology. Her dissertation examines the political economy of environmental contamination and people’s struggles for conservation and survival in the extractive frontier of the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Discussant: Anthony Cummings, PLAS Visiting Research Scholar

Moderator: Gabrielle Girard, Ph.D. Candidate, History


This workshop is being offered in-person for Princeton University ID holders only. Boxed lunches will be provided. Registration is required to attend.

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