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Central America in the New Millennium: Living Transition and Reimagining Democracy

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Volume 102

CEDLA Latin America Studies

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Central America in the New Millennium

Living Transition and Reimagining Democracy

Edited by Jennifer L. Burrell and Ellen Moodie
Published in Association with the Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation (CEDLA), Amsterdam

348 pages, 23 illus., 5 tables, 2 maps, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-752-3 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (November 2012)

eISBN 978-0-85745-753-0 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“The editors mostly avoid the problem of dissonance often faced by multi-authored texts, with a clear and concise framing narrative. While the individual chapters are quite distinctive, they always feel interconnected. Taken together, these ethnographies offer a powerful story of the intersection of multiple forces and highlight the struggles and incredible resilience of the region’s people.” • Bulletin of Latin American Research

“As recent events in Honduras and the increasing incursion of drug wars on American life attest, the relationship between the United States and Central America is far from over. This book fills a much needed gap in the literature by addressing the complex presents and futures of Central America, its blurred relationship with the US and the complex intra-regional difference. It is an ambitious text in its privileging of the ethnographic gaze so as to provide a regional vision.” • M. Gabriela Torres, Wheaton College

“[A] very rich and timely collection on contemporary Central America [that] situates local worlds of Central American citizens within the broader framework of key global challenges such as neoliberalism, globalization and democratization. In doing so it makes a critical contribution to contemporary studies of political transition more generally and those of Latin America more specifically. It unites a fascinating range of chapters in this timely and thoughtful collection.” • Mo Hume, University of Glasgow


Most non-Central Americans think of the narrow neck between Mexico and Colombia in terms of dramatic past revolutions and lauded peace agreements, or sensational problems of gang violence and natural disasters. In this volume, the contributors examine regional circumstances within frames of democratization and neoliberalism, as they shape lived experiences of transition. The authors—anthropologists and social scientists from the United States, Europe, and Central America—argue that the process of regions and nations “disappearing” (being erased from geopolitical notice) is integral to upholding a new, post-Cold War world order—and that a new framework for examining political processes must be accessible, socially collaborative, and in dialogue with the lived processes of suffering and struggle engaged by people in Central America and the world in the name of democracy.

Jennifer L. Burrell is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University at Albany SUNY.

Ellen Moodie is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Illinois.

CEDLA Homepage
Subject: Anthropology (General)
Area: Latin America and the Caribbean



List of Figures, Maps and Tables
Map of Central America

Introduction: Ethnographic Visions of Millennial Central America
Jennifer L. Burrell and Ellen Moodie

Part I: Imagining Democracy After the Cold War

Chapter 1. Contradiction and Struggle Under the Leftist Phoenix: Rural Nicaragua at the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Revolution
Rosario Montoya

Chapter 2. The Violence of Cold War Polarities and the Fostering of Hope: The 2009 Elections in Postwar El Salvador
Ainhoa Montoya

Chapter 3. Daring to Hope in the Midst of Despair: The Agrarian Question within the Anti-Coup Resistance Movement in Honduras
Jefferson C. Boyer and Wilfredo Cardona Peñalva

Chapter 4. “My Heart Says NO”: Political Experiences of the Struggle Against CAFTA-DR in Costa Rica
Ciska Raventós

Chapter 5. Democracy, Disenchantment and the Future in El Salvador
Ellen Moodie

Part II: Indigeneity, Race and Human Rights in the (Post) Multicultural Moment

Chapter 6. Cuando Nos Internacionalizamos: Human Rights and Other Universals at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Baron Pineda

Chapter 7. Acknowledging Racism and State Transformation in Postwar Guatemalan Society
Claudia Dary Fuentes

Chapter 8. Ephemeral Rights and Securitized Lives: Migration, Mareros and Power in Millennial Guatemala
Jennifer L. Burrell

Part III: Dominant, Residual and Emergent Economic Strategies

Chapter 9. Honduras’s Smallholder Coffee Farmers, the Coffee Crisis, and Neoliberal Policy: Disjunctures in Knowledge and Conundrums for Development
Catherine Tucker

Chapter 10. Maya Handicraft Vendors’ CAFTA-DR Discourses:  “Free Trade Is Not For Everyone in Guatemala”
Walter E. Little

Chapter 11. “Here The Campesino is Dead”: Can Central America’s Smallholders Be Saved?
Sarah Lyon

Chapter 12. Certifying Sustainable Tourism in Costa Rica: Environmental Governance and Accountability in a Transitional Era 
Luis Vivanco

Chapter 13. Central America Comes to the “Cradle of Democracy”: Immigration and Neoliberalization in Williamsburg, Virginia
Jennifer Bickham Mendez

Part IV: A Place on the Map: Surviving on Pasts, Presents and Futures

Chapter 14. Migration, Tourism and Post-Insurgent Individuality in Northern Morazán, El Salvador
Leigh Binford

Chapter 15. Intimate Encounters: Sex and Power in Nicaraguan Tourism
Florence E. Babb

Chapter 16. Notes on Tourism, Ethnicity and the Politics of Cultural Value in Honduras
Mark Anderson

Notes on Contributors

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