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4. Latin American Societies

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Chapter Summary

Latin American economies were the first ones to be created through a direct link with global markets. The most useful analytical leverage on Latin America may come from appreciating its almost schizophrenic social character. Over the past 50 years, the most important geographical pattern in Latin America has been its rapid urbanization. In 1925, only a quarter of the population lived in cities. The history of Latin American region is divided into five distinct periods: (a) pre-conquest; (b) colonial; (c) formation of national states and oligarchic liberalism; (d) autarchic authoritarianism; and (e) democracy and neo-liberalism. The best definer of what is "Latin American" is a form of negation. For many years, this took the form of rejecting the Iberian identity in favor of an emphasis on the "New World" and in some quarters, a celebration of the hybrity of its culture.

Keywords: autarchic authoritarianism; Latin American economies; Latin American society; oligarchic liberalism



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