American Value: Migrants, Money, and Meaning in El Salvador by David Pedersen

By David Pedersen

Over the last half-century, El Salvador has remodeled dramatically. traditionally reliant on basic exports like espresso and cotton, the rustic emerged from a brutal civil conflict in 1992 to discover a lot of its nationwide source of revenue now coming from a big emigrant workforce—over 1 / 4 of its population—that earns cash within the usa and sends it domestic. In American Value, David Pedersen examines this new lifestyle because it extends throughout locations: Intipucá, a Salvadoran city notorious for its remittance wealth, and the Washington, DC, metro quarter, domestic to the second one biggest inhabitants of Salvadorans within the United States.

Pedersen charts El Salvador’s switch along American deindustrialization, viewing the Salvadoran migrant paintings skills utilized in new lowwage American provider jobs as one of those basic export, and indicates how the newest social stipulations linking either international locations are a part of an extended heritage of disparity around the Americas. Drawing at the paintings of Charles S. Peirce, he demonstrates how the defining worth forms—migrant paintings means, providers, and remittances—act as symptoms, construction an ethical international by way of speaking their exchangeability whereas hiding the violence and exploitation on which this tale rests. Theoretically subtle, ethnographically wealthy, and compellingly written, American Value deals serious insights into practices which are more and more universal through the global.

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Additional resources for American Value: Migrants, Money, and Meaning in El Salvador and the United States

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I return to this example in greater detail in chapter 2. 27 The often coerced mixing of human effort with other natural resources in the soil and sky yielded not just this primary agricultural commodity, but also a deep patterning of intersubjective outlooks and orientations, not the least toward the little bean itself. In El Salvador, coffee was el Grano de Oro [the Golden Grain] because of the new wealth and sense of progress that it seemed to deliver, at least to some parts of the country. How did it come to tell such a widely consumed story in El Salvador?

This larger development or course, as I mentioned in the preface, is El Salvador’s transformation over the past fifty years from a country largely oriented around exporting washed green Arabica coffee beans, especially to the United States, to one that currently is much defined by the circulation of remittances sent from Salvadorans working in the United States. It includes as well the United States’ transformation over the same half century from a country dominated by industrial manufacturing, to one now much defined by production of services and high-tech goods.

Despite the conservative roots of ARENA, the new Salvadoran leader rhetorically carved out a fresh position on the war. At his June inauguration Cristiani announced that his new administration would consider beginning peace talks with the FMLN without a prior cessation of hostilities. “We will dedicate all our efforts to the conquest of a permanent peace that does not exclude any Salvadoran,” Cristiani said. ” Though critics decried this offer as empty talk, roadmap for remittances 31 figure 2.

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