His Eldorado is Peru!

Arthur Morenas, a former student in Sciences Po, has just obtained a Doctoral Fellowship from the Institute of the Americas to carry out an immersion thesis in Peru, a country he already knows and that fascinates him. Looking back on his journey.

© Institut français d'études andines

Arthur Morenas discovered Peru for the first time in 2013, during a university exchange with the University of Ricardo Palma de Lima. Among the choice of destinations available to him at the end of his second year of Sciences po at the Institute of Political Studies in Strasbourg, it was Latin America and more particularly the Andean countries that beckoned him. Eager to know more, he opted for Peru. 'Without really knowing it, this destination opened me up to the imagination of a country rich in culture and having kept its traditions,' he recalls. That is what made my mind up.'

Taming Lima

Very soon after his arrival in Lima, he became passionate about this country, although he remembered a first 'almost shocking' encounter with the capital of Peru and its 9 million souls. 'Lima is not the land of the Incas you imagine on arrival. It is a city that has become westernised in many ways,' says Arthur, who nevertheless discovered an exciting mixture of cultures. 'Once you have taken on its somewhat chaotic urbanisation, it is a city to which you finally get attached and which conceals a wealth that one does not suspect at first glance.'

After this first experience, which allowed him to transform a stammering Spanish into true bilingualism, he completed a Master specialising in Latin America within the fifth year of his IEP curriculum. There followed two internships that returned him for several months to the Andean country. He then carried out research work in the shantytown of Jicamarca to study the relations between political organisations and local actors. These were the first steps of a story that was about to take a new turn ...

The Peruvian dissected

After completing a M2 in political social sciences based on research, Arthur received a three-year doctoral fellowship from the Institute of the Americas. Next September, he will once again land in Lima to begin a thesis * on the construction of economic policies in Peru. Over the past decade, major international institutions (IMF, World Bank, etc.) have seen that Peru is holding its own in Latin America, despite an unfavourable economic environment. 'They tout its model of economic policies while Peru is not exempt from any problems,' says Arthur. 'I will try to understand the social foundations of these policies and their stability despite the fact that they are under pressure since the fall of the government that put them in place.' How are these economic policies constructed? What are the main institutions behind their promotion? How are they appropriated by national elites? How do they take place at a local level and what are the mechanisms that explain their stability? All the questions that the future PhD student intends to explore through interviews with many decision-makers and study of archives.

He will also focus on policies to combat informality. 'Economic activities on the black' represent between 60 and 70% of national economic activity, reveals Arthur. For the last ten years, it has become a very important economic policy issue. 'The 25 year old future researcher is looking forward to 10 months out of 12 in Peru.  'When you come at it from the viewpoint of social sciences, it is a country that surprises you enormously and upsets a certain number of preconceptions that one can have. It's exciting when you want to do research! »

Ronan Rousseau

*: 'The social foundations of the 'Peruvian model' : socio-political analysis of economic policies in Peru.', under the direction of Vincent Dubois, professor of sociology and political science at the University of Strasbourg.

Arthur Morenas will represent the Institute of the Americas

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This institute brings together some sixty French universities, including the University of Strasbourg. Its mission is to promote French research on the American continent and comprises 12 international clusters managed by doctoral students. Arthur Morenas will coordinate that of Lima and will be 'delighted to bring [his] cornerstone to the edifice if the University of Strasbourg wishes to develop its network in South America. »