The University of Arizona

“Campesinos” and the crisis of modernization in Latin America

William M. Loker

Abstract


This paper examines the effects of recent political and economic trends on the wellbeing of campesino communities in Latin America. After briefly reviewing the appropriateness of the term “campesino” in the rapidly changing political economy of Latin America, the article concludes that there is an identifiable group of people for whom the term campesino is appropriate and that members of campesino communities face common problems. Many analysts agree that campesino communities face interlocking social and economic crises with important consequences for the environment and the continued viability of their livelihoods. The paper analyzes these crises and their origins in the historical neglect of the rural poor. The paper concludes with some suggested actions to ameliorate these conditions, with special attention to the role of social scientists in this process.

Key words: campesino, Latin America, environment, social scientists.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2458/v3i1.21774