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Peasants Against Globalization : Rural Social Movements in Costa Rica (99 Edition)by Marc Edelman
Synopses & ReviewsPlease note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.
This book tells the story of how small farmers responded to a free-market onslaught that devastated one of the Western Hemispheres most advanced social-democratic welfare states. In the early 1980s, the Latin American debt crisis struck Costa Rica, leading to major cutbacks in the social programs that had permitted the rural poor to attain an acceptable standard of living and a modicum of dignity.
Peasants were in the forefront of movements against these cutbacks, marching, blocking highways, and occupying government buildings. In the struggle to preserve their livelihood, the rural poor also formed alliances with wealthy farmers, negotiated with politicians, and embraced and then repudiated charismatic outsiders who came to live among them and to speak in their name. These rural activists combined class-bound politics with concerns about threatened peasant identities, practical analysis with sentimentality, grassroots democracy with conspiratorial secrecy, and selfless sacrifice with opportunism.
The small farmers portrayed in this book are worldly, outspoken, exuberant, future-oriented, and fiercely proud. They could hardly be less like the unsophisticated and stoic rustics so prominent in the development literature or those contemporary peasants whose imminent disappearance is endlessly predicted by both right- and left-wing social scientists.
The author argues that the experience of rural activism in Costa Rica in the 1980s and 1990s calls into question much current theory about collective action, peasantries, development, and ethnographic research. The book invites the reader to rethink debates about old and new social movements and to grapple with the ethical and methodological dilemmas of engaged ethnography.
'Costa Rican peasants in the early 1980s fought cutbacks in social programs, and emerge not as unsophisticated rustics but as worldly and outspoken activists. This book questions current theories of collective action, development, and ethnographic research, inviting us to come face-to-face with peasants stubbornly committed to survival.\n
In Costa Rica in the early 1980s, the Latin American debt crisis forced major cutbacks in social programs that had improved the standard of living of the rural poor. Peasants were in the forefront of movements against these cutbacks and emerge in this book as worldly, outspoken, and fiercely proud, in contrast to the unsophisticated rustics portrayed in the development literature. The author argues that the experience of rural activism in Costa Rica in the 1980s and 1990s calls into question much current theory about collective action, peasantries, development, and ethnographic research. The book invites the reader to rethink debates about old and new social movements, to grapple with the ethical and methodological dilemmas of engaged ethnography, to retrace the long history of development ignored by its postmodernist critics, and to come face-to-face with peasants stubbornly committed to survival.
Recent Costa Rican peasant activism challenges current theories of collective action, development, and ethnographic research.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 271-300) and index.
About the Author
Marc Edelman is Professor of Anthropology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of City University of New York. He is the author of The Logic of the Latifundio: The Large Estates of Northwestern Costa Rica Since the Late Nineteenth Century (Stanford, 1992).
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History and Social Science » Anthropology » Central and South America