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Short-Bio

Dr. Rebeca Ramos Padrón is a postdoctoral researcher within the CALAS-Laboratory Project Confronting Inequalities in Latin America: Perspectives on Wealth and Power. Her current research focuses on the study of social inequalities in the Latin American region, from research on elites and in a selected group of Latin American rentier countries. The project aims to reveal the relational and figurative framework of these elites in a context defined by the rentier development model. Previously, Dr. Ramos was a DAAD fellow as a visiting professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Kassel. For more than 20 years she worked as a professor in the Chair of Sociology at the University of Havana, serving as its vice-director for 7 years. She obtained her Ph.D. degree in Sociological Sciences at the University of Havana, with a thesis on the expressions of social inequality in a Havana municipality within the context of the local development program. She obtained her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Havana. Dr. Ramos Padrón has taught, given conferences, and conducted workshops in several countries of Europe, North America, and Latin American.

Areas of research

• Social inequalities
• Social policies and programs
• Social services
• Theory and models of Development

Regional focus: Latin America; the Caribbean (Cuba); Scandinavian region (Sweden)

Recent Publications

  • Ramos Padrón, R. & Burchardt, H.J. (Forthcoming). Coronizando el futuro: la desigualdad en los tiempos de la pandemia. Repositorio CALAS.
  • Ramos Padrón, R. (2018). Expresiones de Desigualdad Social. El Acceso al Sistema de Servicios Sociales en un contexto de Desarrollo Humano. El Municipio Habana Vieja. PhD Thesis. University of Havana.
  • Ramos Padrón, R. & Burchardt, H.-J. (2021). “Coronizando el futuro: La desigualdad en los tiempos de la pandemia”. In Gutiérrez Cham, G., Herrera Lima, S. & Kemner J. (Eds.). Pandemia y crisis: El COVID19 en América Latina. (348 – 374). Gedisa: Mexico.

  • Ramos Padrón, R. et. al. (2016). “Estado y Seguridad Social en Cuba”. In Siqueira da Silva, J.F. & Muñoz Gutiérrez, T. P. (Eds.). Política Social e Serviço Social. Braisl e Cuba em debate (247–268). Veras Editora.

Research projects

The relational and figurative framework of elites in Latin American rentier societies

The research project addresses the issue of social inequality, wealth, and power in Latin America.  In different proportions and with various nuances, most of the region’s economies are heavily dependent on the extraction and export of natural resources. The configuration of the Latin American state, economy and society is shaped by the dynamics of this dependence. This structural triad is articulated around the benefits generated by the extraction and management of these resources – here defined as Rent. The research assumes that these extractive development models reproduce a particular type of unequal rentier society, which modulates relational frameworks and particular configurations from the economic, political, socio-cultural, and habitual dimensions.

In this constellation of rentier society, Latin American elites deploy their networks, their usual cultural, political, and economic capacities, and articulate themselves to sustain and perpetuate a position of privilege and exclusion, reproducing a distorted appropriation and consumption of wealth and welfare.  The study developed is analytically positioned in the space of the reproduction of Norbert Elias’ figurative sociology, to study the economic elites in these contexts of rentier societies, their interdependent relations, and the structuring of these social asymmetries. With a conceptual-methodological platform of the theory of figurations, this project focuses on the first 20 years of the 21st century. This period expresses processes of crisis in the stability and advancement of equality and welfare, determined by the pro-cyclical fluctuations in the prices of natural resources, where the elites continue to position themselves among the privileged and winning groups.

Studying Wealth and the Elites

In the context of high levels of social inequality, recent research in Latin America has mainly focused on the situation of the marginalized and the poor. However, the constitution and concentration of wealth in the hands of small economic elites remains largely unexplored. To cope with this lacuna, the CALAS-Project “Studying Wealth and the Elites” aims to comprehensively examine wealth and economic elites in Latin America.

Firstly, the project takes up (classic) political economic considerations of wealth accumulation in Latin America. This includes the integration into the world market, the heterogeneity of national economies, and the frictions between different social groups. However, the research also promotes new empirical and comparative perspectives to provide a comprehensive map of wealth and economic elites in the region.

Secondly, the study expands sociological analyses of economic elites in Latin America and their networks with targeting specific patterns of their reproduction. Therefore, the project establishes elites as a relational category and scrutinizes their political and economic strategies in relation to the state and other economic actors. While analysing economic elites, the research project explicitly examines lifestyles and consumption patterns, professional preferences and educational biographies, as well as family constellations.

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and part of the CALAS Laboratory of Knowledge “Confronting Social Inequalities: Perspectives on wealth and power”.

Website: http://www.calas.lat/investigacion/desigualdad-social