Year 2003-2004

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Jeanine Anderson (Ph.D. Cornell University 1978) is a professor of anthropology at the Catholic University of Peru. There, she coordinates graduate programs in anthropology and teaches courses on qualitative methods, urban anthropology, medical anthropology, complex societies, gender, and development. A naturalized Peruvian citizen, Anderson has lived in Lima since 1970, when she went to Peru to do fieldwork for a dissertation on middle class women. She gradually became involved in research and action projects focused on the urban poor. In recent years, she has headed interdisciplinary research groups studying a range of health, education and social policy questions in urban and rural Peru. Before joining the Catholic University social science faculty in 1992, she worked for the Peruvian Ministry of Education, the Ford Foundation regional office, and various NGO’s and development organizations, both regional and international. 

Anderson’s project under the Rockefeller Foundation Residential Fellowship takes as its point of departure a longitudinal study of a shanty community on the southern edge of Lima. The study involved three rounds of interviews with members of several dozen households (1978, 1992, 2001) as well as data collected through observation, participation in development projects, and work with community organizations. This will become a book that examines the dynamics of equality and inequality along lines of gender, class, and generation, with special attention to the effects of community organizing, NGO-sponsored projects and government anti-poverty programs, all set against the backdrop of evolving Peruvian macroeconomic policy and the political crises of the past three decades. A topic of particular interest is how poor communities themselves construct theories of poverty and inequality and how they understand and apply their own capacity to oppose these forces. Thus, a second product to be developed over the coming months is a “report back” to the community on the research in a way that, it is hoped, will contribute to that self-understanding and capacity for action. 

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Luis Reygadas' research and writing in 2003-2004 focuses on the convergence of "old" and "new" inequalities in Latin America since the early 1980s. He is pondering how recent economic, political and cultural transformations relate to rising inequalities, but also relate to resistance and contestation of inequality. The main features of this research program are:
  1. The exploration of the new contours of Latin American inequality —such as the digital divide, dual labor markets, flexible work regimes, global (north-south) disparities, the decay of welfare services and emergent family labor strategies.
  2. Moving beyond standard indicators of inequality (incomes, property, wealth, education levels, job and social benefits) to include new criteria as well, especially those sensitive to people’s actual social networks and cultural capital.
  3. Highlighting symbolic and power dimensions in the construction of inequalities, such as boundary-marking, distinction and "contra-distinction," exclusionary processes, the ritual construction of difference and the like.
  4. Analysis of non-conventional resource flows and human seldom included in inequality research, such as those derived from corruption, drug traffic, crime, daily forms of resistance, migration, and participation in social movements, NGOS and cultural industries.
  5. Seeks actor's points of view and foregrounds agency, possibilities and the quotidian ways people cope and deal with inequality structures and relations.

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