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May 12 , 2008

Indelible Inequalities in Latin America

Insights from History, Politics, and Culture


Since the earliest years of European colonialism, Latin America has been a region of seemingly intractable inequalities, marked by a stark divide between the haves and the have-nots. This collection illuminates the diverse processes that have combined to produce and reproduce inequalities in Latin America, as well as some of the implications of those processes for North Americans. Anthropologists, cultural critics, historians, and political scientists from North and South America offer new and varied perspectives, building on the sociologist Charles Tilly’s relational framework for understanding enduring inequalities. While one essay is a broad yet nuanced analysis of Latin American inequality and its persistence, another is a fine-grained ethnographic view of everyday life and aspirations among shantytown residents living on the outskirts of Lima. Other essays address topics such as the initial bifurcation of Peru’s healthcare system into one for urban workers and another for the rural poor, the asymmetrical distribution of political information in Brazil, and an evolving Cuban “aesthetics of inequality,” which incorporates hip-hop and other transnational cultural currents. Exploring the dilemmas of Latin American inequalities as they are playing out in the United States, a contributor looks at new immigrant Mexican farmworkers in upstate New York to show how undocumented workers become a vulnerable rural underclass. Taken together, the essays extend social inequality critiques in important new directions.

Jeanine Anderson
Javier Auyero
Odette Casamayor
Christina Ewig
Paul Gootenberg
Margaret Gray
Eric Hershberg
Lucio Renno
Luis Reygadas

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