The Oligarchy and the Old Regime in Latin America, 1880-1970 (Paperback)Dennis Gilbert (author)
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Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 422 g
Dimensions: 230 x 150 x 18 mm
Recent work on Latin America has de-emphasized the elite in favor of better understanding those who struggle for power and access to resources. Sociologist Gilbert, however, provides a long-missing and essential picture of the oligarchy by examining how the most powerful gained, held, and then lost control of the economy and politics over a century. Part I provides a general overview of oligarchic power and cohesion as well as details about the workings of the oligarchy in Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Argentina. Part II is a more extensive analysis of three families in the Peruvian oligarchy: the Aspillaga, Prado, and Miro Quesada clans. This book is especially valuable because it uses concrete examples and explains how the elite develop and maintain a cohesive collective identity, a topic rarely detailed in other work. Gilbert also examines the 'contested republic,' when the oligarchy's focus on the export sector of the economy ultimately gave rise to new forces-the middle classes, the working class, urban dwellers, and professionalized militaries-that challenged oligarchic power and led to its ultimate demise after the mid-20th century. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. * CHOICE *
Gilbert's clear prose and detailed account of Peruvian oligarchs will attract the attention of students of Latin America. Of particular interest are the sections in which the author masterfully writes about the social world of the oligarchs since infancy to late adulthood. Labor historians of the Americas will find many similarities with respect to the shady managerial practices of these wealthy men. Anti-union policies, violence, and corruption characterized them all. Political scientists interested in the first years of APRA and its later conversion to a less radical party will also find Gilbert's book useful. * Hispanic American Historical Review *
"There is virtually no careful sociological-historical analysis on the inner workings of the ruling oligarchy or the oligarchical state that played such a dominant role in Latin America in much of the twentieth century. Gilbert's comparative study across five countries is an impressively researched and probing, fine-grained analysis of the phenomenon that fills this void and will stand as the standard for some time to come." -- Peter Klaren, George Washington University
In The Oligarchy and the Old Regime in Latin America, 1880-1970, Dennis Gilbert has built upon a distinguished career studying class formation and elite economic and political practice in modern Spanish America. Here he incorporates a broad comparative framework embracing Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Peru, combining micro-social and macro-social perspectives, giving us an illuminating picture of elite family networks over a century. -- Eric Van Young, University of California San Diego
In this engaging political and sociological history, Dennis Gilbert recounts the rise, reign, and ultimate decline of five Latin American oligarchies-the landed elites that dominated society and government from the late-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. Each case has its peculiarities, but they follow a common trajectory: the rise to dominance followed by decline when powerful new actors from the emerging middle and lower classes arose to challenge the oligarchic order. Gilbert combines this broad sweep of history with a deep dive into the case of Peru, where his access to elite family correspondence and interviews with key figures opens a revealing window into the oligarchs' world and worldview, their feuds, and their response to political challenge. A must read for students of Latin American history, politics, and sociology. -- William LeoGrande, American University
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