Recent decades have witnessed clear and significant political, economic, and social changes in Latin America. In the late 1970s, political changes began to transform the vast majority of Latin American governments from authoritarian to democratic regimes. Then, a decade of economic stagnation and debt led to a series of structural reforms promoted by international financial institutions (IFIs), including the privatizing and opening up of national economies to increased export trade and multinational investment. Meanwhile, new citizen movements called for greater recognition and respect for cultural and ethnic diversity, women’s rights, and more environmentally sustainable models of development. Numerous academic researchers have tried to understand the meaning of these changes from various disciplinary, political, and ideological perspectives.

Anthropologist Sheldon Smith has attempted to understand these transformations through what he calls a “global studies” perspective. His 1995 World in Disorder: An Anthropological and Interdisciplinary Approach...

You do not currently have access to this content.