Examines changing perspectives on Black and Indian populations in the region tracing comparisons in how these peoples have been seen by academics and national elites.
This text examines changing perspectives on black and Indian populations in Latin America, tracing similarities and differences in the way these peoples have been seen by academics and national elites. Beginning with a brief analysis of historical debates about the emergence of mixed societies in the colonial and republican era, the author traces understandings of race and ethnicity from early functional approaches, through Marxist and interactionist perspectives to more recent concerns with the politics of culture and identity in nation states that exist in increasingly globalized networks. Throughout, reference is made to concrete contexts to illustrate the theoretical debates. Brief contrasts are made with North American and Caribbean contexts. Race and ethnicity as analytical concepts are re-examined in order to demonstrate their embeddedness in the history of Western social science and to assess their continuing usefulness.