Cover of Ethnic Entrepreneurs by Monica C. DeHart
Ethnic Entrepreneurs
Identity and Development Politics in Latin America
Monica C. DeHart

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2010
208 pages.
from $22.95

Cloth ISBN: 9780804769334
Paper ISBN: 9780804769341

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Winner of the 2010 Outstanding Academic Title Award, sponsored by Choice.

Indigenous groups are not often recognized as driving forces in the push for economic development. However, in development efforts across Latin America, governments and corporations have begun to see ethnic cultural difference as an advantage. Ethnic Entrepreneurs explores how diverse groups historically seen as obstacles to development have become valuable to state and regional development initiatives.

From collaboration between a Maya organization and Walmart to a UN-sponsored program that recruits diasporic Latinos, states and corporations are pursuing strategies that complement regional neoliberal shifts. This book examines how ethnic difference is produced through development policy, breaking down the micropolitics of identity and development. It uncovers surprising convergences between ethnic community businesses and corporate social responsibility practices and illuminates how formulations of ethnic difference influence not only changing cultural identifications, but also the political and moral projects that shape Latin America.

About the author

Monica DeHart is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Puget Sound.

"Ethnic Entrepreneurs represents a key contribution to studies of development and to the anthropological canon. DeHart successfully illuminates the myriad ways in which state power is being reformulated through diverse development actors."

—Nicole Coffey Kellett, Journal of Anthropological Research

"Ethnic Entrepreneurs provides an innovative analysis of how the flexibility of ethnic difference is mobilized as a resource both by indigenous, Latino, and Latin American subjects as well as by development institutions and organizations. By highlighting how the contradictions and assumptions behind categories such as indigenous, Latino, Latin American, migrant, and immigrant are related to global practices of corporate marketing and corporate responsibility, DeHart helps us rethink the links between community and corporation. This book offers an ethnographically rich window on global processes of ethnic identity and entrepreneurship."

—Lynn Stephen, University of Oregon

"Once the very idea of the Ethnic Entrepreneur would have been an oxymoron. Local knowledge, kinship, and communal ties were seen as primary obstacles to modernization. Now, in Latin America, ethnic subjects are widely regarded as essential agents of development. In exploring the shifts that have made this transformation possible, Monica DeHart provides an enlightening account of the ways in which ethnic identity, market forces, and development strategy are reshaping each other in neoliberal times."

—Jean Comaroff, University of Chicago