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Latin America and Global Capitalism

, 444 pages

11 halftones, 1 map

December 2009



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Latin America and Global Capitalism

A Critical Globalization Perspective

2009 Best Book, International Political Economy Group of the British International Studies Association

This ambitious volume chronicles and analyzes from a critical globalization perspective the social, economic, and political changes sweeping across Latin America from the 1970s through the present day. Sociologist William I. Robinson summarizes his theory of globalization and discusses how Latin America’s political economy has changed as the states integrate into the new global production and financial system, focusing specifically on the rise of nontraditional agricultural exports, the explosion of maquiladoras, transnational tourism, and the export of labor and the import of remittances. He follows with an overview of the clash among global capitalist forces, neoliberalism, and the new left in Latin America, looking closely at the challenges and dilemmas resistance movements face and their prospects for success.

Through three case studies—the struggles of the region's indigenous peoples, the immigrants rights movement in the United States, and the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela—Robinson documents and explains the causes of regional socio-political tensions, provides a theoretical framework for understanding the present turbulence, and suggests possible outcomes to the conflicts.

Based on years of fieldwork and empirical research, this study elucidates the tensions that globalization has created and shows why Latin America is a battleground for those seeking to shape the twenty-first century’s world order.

William I. Robinson is a professor of sociology, global studies, and Latin American and Iberian studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of several books on globalization, including A Theory of Global Capitalism, also published by Johns Hopkins.

"A scathing indictment of neoliberal globalization from an explicitly anti-capitalist perspective... An exemplary treatment of Latin America’s present day political economy and social predicaments."

"An important book for anyone interested in where our imperiled planet is headed. Robinson... is admirably thorough in his overview of the direction capitalism has taken in Latin America since the 1970s."

"Robinson's latest book offers brilliant insight into the underlying causes and current dilemmas of globalization."

"This book is a must read, not only for Latin American specialists, but for all those who draw the connection between political economy at the world level and strategies for change."

"An important contribution to globalization studies."

"His heterodox and challenging views make provocative reading."

"William I. Robinson has demonstrated once again his importance as a theorist and socially committed academic with his book Latin America and Global Capitalism. This book is a 'must-read' for any scholar interested in the dynamics of contemporary capitalism as well as its specific features in Latin America."

"William I. Robinson has delivered us a powerful statement on contemporary Latin America as both a product of globalization and a challenge to the view that 'there is no alternative.' This is a wide ranging political economy which is both well researched and eminently readable. A must!"

"Building on his pathbreaking work on emerging transnational states, classes, and relations of production, William Robinson reveals the deepening, overlapping, and ultimately unsustainable global crises of legitimacy, overaccumulation, and polarization. Robinson argues with great analytical lucidity that Latin America's current 'left turn,' more than a manifestation of turbulence, is a struggle over the shape of the new world to come."

"Robinson's book is a model for critical globalization studies—empirically grounded and theoretically sophisticated. He shows us how Latin America is on the frontlines in the struggle to determine what will succeed the neoliberal paradigm of the capitalist global order."

"A provocative and worthwhile read for those interested in the political economy of Latin America as well as the processes of globalization."

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