264 pages, 6 x 9
3 charts, 1 map, 5 tables
Release Date:14 Mar 2017
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Cooperatives, Grassroots Development, and Social Change

Experiences from Rural Latin America

The University of Arizona Press

Cooperatives, Grassroots Development, and Social Change presents examples from Paraguay, Brazil, and Colombia, examining what is necessary for smallholder agricultural cooperatives to support holistic community-based development in peasant communities. Reporting on successes and failures of these cooperative efforts, the contributors offer analyses and strategies for supporting collective grassroots interests. Illustrating how poverty and inequality affect rural people, they reveal how cooperative organizations can support grassroots development strategies while negotiating local contexts of inequality amid the broader context of international markets and global competition.

The contributors explain the key desirable goals from cooperative efforts among smallholder producers. They are to provide access to more secure livelihoods, expand control over basic resources and commodity chains, improve quality of life in rural areas, support community infrastructure, and offer social spaces wherein small farmers can engage politically in transforming their own communities.

The stories in Cooperatives, Grassroots Development, and Social Change reveal immense opportunities and challenges. Although cooperatives have often been framed as alternatives to the global capitalist system, they are neither a panacea nor the hegemonic extension of neoliberal capitalism. Through one of the most thorough cross-country comparisons of cooperatives to date, this volume shows the unfiltered reality of cooperative development in highly stratified societies, with case studies selected specifically because they offer important lessons regarding struggles and strategies for adapting to a changing social, economic, and natural environment.


Luis Barros
Brian J. Burke
Charles Cox
Luis Alberto Cuéllar Gómez
Miguel Ricardo Dávila Ladrón de Guevara
Elisa Echagüe
Timothy J. Finan
Andrés González Aguilera
Sonia Carolina López Cerón
Joana Laura Marinho Nogueira
João Nicédio Alves Nogueira
Jessica Piekielek
María Isabel Ramírez Anaya
Rodrigo F. Rentería-Valencia
Lilliana Andrea Ruiz Marín
Marcela Vásquez-León

Marcela Vásquez-León is the director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona, where she is also an associate professor at the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology (BARA) at the School of Anthropology. She has received many awards and her work has been published in American Anthropologist, Human Organization, Latin American Perspectives, and Global Environmental Change.
Brian J. Burke is an assistant professor in the Goodnight Family Sustainable Development Department at Appalachian State University. His work has appeared in Anthropology News, Journal of Political Ecology, Latin American Perspectives, and Practicing Anthropology.
Timothy J. Finan is a research professor at the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology (BARA) at the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona. His recent work appears in Anthropology and Climate Change: From Encounters to Actions and in many journals, including Global Environmental Change.
Foreword by Charles C. Cox
Introduction: Smallholder Cooperativism as a Development Strategy in Latin America
Marcela Vásquez-León, Timothy J. Finan, and Brian J. Burke

The Paraguayan Context of Social Inequality
Marcela Vásquez-León
Grassroots Organizing as a Key to Cooperative-Led Change: Lessons from Rural Paraguay
Brian J. Burke
Collective Challenges and the Fair Trade Alternative: The Manduvirá Cooperative
Marcela Vásquez-León and Andrés González Aguilera
Is Monoculture a Viable Strategy?: The Case of Guayaibi Unido
Rodrigo Rentería-Valencia
Capiibary Cooperative: A Strategy of Diversification to Reverse the Rural Exodus
Marcela Vásquez-León
Paraguayan Cooperativism in Context: A Practitioner’s Perspective
Elisa Echagüe

Cooperativism in Brazil: The Development Context
Timothy J. Finan
The Evolution of Cooperativism in Brazil
Joana Laura Marinho Nogueira and João Nicédio Alves Nogueira
Atotori: The Discourse and Practice of Sustainability in the Amazon Rain Forest
Jessica Piekielek and Timothy J. Finan
Sharecroppers Transformed: The Case of the Cooperativa dos Produtores do Curupati-Peixe (CPCP)
Luis Barros and Timothy J. Finan
Solidarity, Tension, and Change Along the Amazon River: The Case of ASCOPE
Timothy J. Finan
Bringing Power and History into Cooperative Design: Lessons from AmazonCoop’s “Fair Trade” Partnership Among Indigenous Brazil Nut Harvesters and The Body Shop
Brian J. Burke

Small Producers and Cooperativism in Colombia
Miguel Ricardo Dávila Ladrón de Guevara
Coffee Associations in Colombia: Strategic Changes for Adapting to the Global Context
Luis Alberto Cuéllar Gómez and María Isabel Ramírez Anaya
COLANTA : A Cooperative Unafraid of Change
Lilliana Andrea Ruiz Marín
Rural Savings and Loan Cooperatives: Five Cases in the South of Santander
Sonia Carolina López Cerón
Conclusion: Cooperatives as Change Agents in Rural Latin America: Synthesizing Experiences Across Countries
Marcela Vásquez-León and Brian J. Burke

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