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Peasants Against Globalization: Rural Social Movements in Costa Rica

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“This beautifully written book is of great theoretical importance for social movement theory and peasant studies, as well as for understanding the impact of neoliberalism in Latin America and the role of grassroots organizations in development. . . . Edelman brings to bear the results of two decades of fieldwork in various Costa Rican settings.”—Judith Alder Hellman, York University
“Edelman’s work is an imporant corrective in an age when ‘privatization’ and the magic of the ‘free market’ are increasingly touted as the keys to global social prosperity. His combination of macroeconomic analysis and ethnography is a welcome addition to the exploding literature on globalization; his research at the grassroots helps bring ‘world-system’ discussions down from the level of grand statistical abstraction to real-world human beings, while his treatment of broad-scale economic trends helps place his ethnographic detail in its proper historical context. This book will be a valuable aid in courses exploring global processes from both sociological and anthropological perspectives.”—Journal of Peasant Studies
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Editorial Reviews

Edelman (anthropology, Hunter College, City University of New York) tells how small farmers responded to a free-market onslaught that devastated one of the Western hemisphere's most advanced social- democratic welfare states. He argues that the experience of rural activism in Costa Rica in the 1980s and 1990s calls into question much current theory about collective action, development, and ethnographic research. Paper edition (unseen), $22.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804736930
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1999
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet 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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Table of Contents

Introduction: Debt Crisis, Social Crisis, Paradigm Crisis 1
1 The Rise and Demise of a Tropical Welfare State 44
2 "Iron Fist in a Kid Glove": Peasants Confront the Free Market 91
3 Organizing in "The Cradle of Maize" 112
4 "In Jail, We'll Eat Cement": Finale to a Peasant Strike 134
5 Movements Evolve, Organizations Are Born and Die 156
Conclusion: Peasant Movements of the Late Twentieth Century 184
App The Costa Rican Security Ministry's View of the Agriculturalists' Organizations in 1988 215
Notes 243
References Cited 271
Index 301
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