History

In July 1975, when Argentina was going through a complex political and institutional crisis, a group of social scientists decided to create an academic institution. They devised and founded CEDES (Center for the Study of State and Society) to be an independent and pluralist institution, capable of taking in and continuing the research activities carried out by other institutional settings.

CEDES has maintained those principles and, from its very beginning, it has been devoted to the study of social, political and economic problems in Argentina and Latin America. During its first years, in a political and institutional context unfavorable for social sciences research activities, the support provided by several foreign institutions such as SAREC (Sweden), Ford Foundation, International Development Research Centre -IDRC (Canada), Andrew Mellon Foundation, Inter-American Foundation among others, made CEDES research activities possible.

In an atmosphere of repression, CEDES inputs were not very much sought nor was the center in the condition to openly publicize its work during those years. Despite this adverse context, CEDES researchers were able to secure the resources needed to carry on their work and to publish several books that became landmarks at that moment and which are still used as reference material in the field of politics and public policies.

As it was difficult to engage in stable relationships with local actors and institutions, CEDES devised an intense routine of internal seminaries, inviting foreign distinguished colleagues such as Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Ricardo Lagos, Albert Hirschman, Adam Pzeworski, Philippe Schmitter, to share their ideas and projects. At that time, a close academic relation was established with similar institutions in Latin America such as CLACSO, CEBRAP, CIEPLAN, CIEDUR, FLACSO, El Colegio de México, and NEPO.

By the end of the 70’s, when there were few opportunities for an academic career at public universities, the Young Researchers Training Program was created, funded by Ford Foundation and SAREC. For many years, this program acted as a place for academic training in the several disciplines and areas of interest at the institution and still continues today under diverse modalities.

CEDES has been a center that attracted not only scholars. Politicians, when they began to come out into the public arena again, were also attracted to the research and debate being carried out at CEDES. More than once, Raúl Alfonsín, who would later on be President of Argentina, participated in several activities to discuss topics related to the Argentinean economic, political and social agenda.

Upon the return of democracy, CEDES helped strengthen it by contributing with rigorous knowledge about what had happened during the “dark years” and with a core of professionals trained to provide social movements, political parties and the Government with the technical assistance they needed, and which had been interrupted when social sciences were dismantled at universities. Many of CEDES researchers occupied positions at different Ministries and Public Institutions during the first democratic government and in the ones that followed.

In 1983, and thanks to a grant from the Ford Foundation, CEDES purchased the building where it now operates, and which offers all the facilities necessary to appropriately host its researchers, administrative staff, and a modern resource center open to the public.

When the democratic government took office, new opportunities opened up for CEDES members, there was an expansion and strengthening of its activities, and many perspectives from different disciplines were brought together. Macroeconomics and social movements; history and public opinion; bourgeoisie and social organizations; democratic and authoritarian regimes; and survival strategies among popular sectors were some of the topics researched during those years.

Many of CEDES researchers became faculty members at public universities, promoting the launching of new undergraduate and graduate programs and currently teach undergraduate and graduate courses at several Argentine and foreign universities. A large number of them are part of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET, for its Spanish acronym) both at the Researcher Career and as fellows. CEDES also launched graduate programs in partnership with other national and regional academic institutions.

In 2007 the National Agency for the Promotion of Science and Technology granted CEDES a Qualification Certificate certifying that the center “has submitted scientific and technological research programs that are either directly executed by the center or supported by its outreach activities, and that these programs meet the quality and originality requirements necessary for the Center to qualify” (Resolution ANPCyT Nº 281/09). In 2011, 2012 and 2013 the University of Pennsylvania considered CEDES to be one of the most important Latin American and Argentinean think-tanks.

It must be highlighted that in these 30 years of democracy CEDES researchers have not only maintained a high academic standard but have also been invited by national, provincial and municipal authorities to act as advisors or consultants on their areas of expertise.

Given its several international links and the strong presence of regional problems in its research agenda, CEDES has had, and still has, a significant participation in academic networks with many institutions from Latin America, the USA and other countries such as Canada, South Africa and India, with which it usually carries out projects.

CEDES has had a research library specialized in social sciences since 1977. In 1987, it organized the REDICSA network for the promotion of scientific production in the field of social sciences in Argentina. In 2003, a strategic reorganization project was developed with the support of Fundación Antorchas and in 2005, the resource center (CICEDES) won the “Concurso Colecciones del Fondo de Cultura de Buenos Aires” (Buenos Aires Culture Fund Collections Contest) which allowed it to digitalize the collections published during the 30 years of the institution. It currently includes CEDES publications in digital version with free access and its library is opened to the community.

1975- 30th anniversary– 2005

In 2005 CEDES celebrated its 30 years of academic trajectory and institutional continuity. To celebrate this, we organized an event in the Malba-Constantini Collection Auditorium on September 5th.

A round table was organized with the participation of Silvina Ramos, CEDES Executive Director; Oscar Oszlak, CEDES founding partner and current researcher; Catalina Smulovitz, CEDES former research assistant; María del Carmen Feijoó, CEDES former researcher, y Roberto Bouzas, FLACSO and Universidad de San Andrés researcher. A cocktail followed the closing of this activity.

We want to thank all of those who joined us for this celebration, and invite you browse through the pictures, speeches and salutation messages we received after that event.

Round Table > more (pdf)
Salutations  > more (pdf)