The term modernization has been used extensively in Latin America since the post-World War II period to describe the promotion of Western world views and consumption patterns. The term is being used in the 1990s in conjunction with the neoliberal pressure placed upon the region to develop modern states and markets to be integrated into the world economy. This text offers an anthropological perspective on Latin America's most recent phase of modernization and its costs to social relations and traditional ways of life. Because people's lives are placed at center stage, a human dimension is brought to the study of the modernization process. Written in accessible language, The Third Wave of Modernization in Latin America analyzes a wide variety of themes, from rural and urban poverty to environmental and cultural identity issues. Each chapter, written exclusively for this volume, focuses on a particular country.
Included are case studies of organizations that have been influenced by current neoliberal policies; critical perspectives on restructuring, free trade, and modernization; an overview of Latin America's recent past to explain why neoliberalism has become a predominant policy in the region; and analyses of the environment, women's issues, and native communities in the context of modernization. The book is divided into the following sections.