During the second half of the twentieth century Costa Rica experienced two related and profound changes in its historically dominant coffee sector: the rise and consolidation of a producer co-op movement with its own processing and marketing capacity in the 1960s, followed in the 1970s by new cultivation techniques, especially replanting with caturra (dwarf variety) bushes. This study offers a close reading of the lived experience of these processes as well as the construction of memories and meanings. It also highlights how profoundly radical some of the unanticipated consequences of those changes have been for these same protagonists by engaging various forms of expression— metaphors, ironies, critiques, jokes—employed by the founding generation of the co-ops to recount and make sense of their own history.

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