Citrus, Strategy, and Class

Citrus, Strategy, and Class

The Politics of Development in Southern Belize

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228 pp, 12 photos, 3 maps, 13 tables, 18 figures

"…captivating reading…The author's approach to understanding peasant village incorporation into the world economy is necessarily political economic, but that is where the work's resemblance to previous studies ends. It belongs to no theoretical camp; neither Marxist, of any stripe, nor modernizationist, nor that of world systems/dependency theory. Rather, in treating the introduction of cultivating oranges and grapefruits for export, it stresses the importance of human agency—response, volition, and action—for social change. It shows, particularly, how class formation relates to utilizing local resources (with cooperation or political factions), external aid (international development agencies), yet also hinges on fortuitous economic disparities of opportunity and constraint,"—Leonard Plotnicov

Citrus, Strategy, and Class examines two decades of significant socioeconomic change in rural Belize. Mark Moberg draws on his extensive field research in two villages of Stann Creek district, supplementing and contrasting his findings with earlier ethnographic data from the same locales. The result is an unusual portrait of village societies in transition that documents the shifting basis of household economies from subsistence agriculture to citrus farming for export markets.

In contrast to other studies, Citrus, Strategy, and Class demonstrates that the outcome of development is defined as much by the agency of rural residents as it is by the state, powerful political actors, and an embracing world market. Moberg's conclusions will be relevant to anthropologists, economists, political scientists concerned with local-level politics and factionalism, and development theorists and practitioners.