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Volume 61 / Social Sciences


KEITH JAMTGAARD, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Rural Sociology & Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis, University of Missouri System

THIS BIENNIUM SEES THE PUBLICATION of a major review of the status of Peruvian anthropology (item #bi2002004173#). According to this study, the social sciences, especially anthropology, are more relevant today than ever given the expansion of the global society and the accompanying need to understand the consequences of globalization for local cultures and social structures. One illustration of this kind of research is item #bi2001007440#, which studies young, middle-class fast food workers from Lima to document evidence of cultural changes occurring in their lives. Another work also considers Lima in an attempt to develop a sociological perspective on the consequences of the loss of stable frames of reference on the city's institutions (item #bi2001007435#).

Many of the publications reviewed during this time period are studies of contemporary social problems. Works on child poverty at the national level and child homelessness in Cusco, including unique local solutions, are noteworthy (see items #bi2001007434# and #bi2001007442#). Many aspects of gender inequality in Peru and mechanisms of redress are also documented. Gender and rural development (item #bi2001007461#), the involvement of women in social movements (item #bi2001007451#), and women's transition from social to political involvement (item #bi2001007436#) are prominent among the works annotated.

An exploration of attitudes of university students about race, starting with their own self-perceptions, is notable (item #bi2001007428#). Another valuable work places the case of Peru in a comparative context along with other settings that have struggled to return to normalcy following an extended period of conflict (item #bi2001007444#).

A number of publications focus on contemporary sexuality, sexual attitudes, and gender definitions. Some of these were sponsored by NGOs interested in advancing change and greater awareness and sensitivity to the issues of sexual and reproductive health. Two of these are similar studies of youth in Lima (item #bi2001007452#) and in the Andean and high tropical forest region (item #bi2001007446#). One study involving multiple settings aims to improve the health services delivered to young people by the Ministry of Health (item #bi2002004170#). Another trend in contemporary sexuality noted during the 1990s in Lima was the increasing use of hostals for encounters among couples, and the cultural changes that accompanied this trend (item #bi2002004168#).

The country's major institutions are examined as well. The state's formulation and use of social policy is described (item #bi2001007433#), as are the roots of political power and the development of legitimacy (item #bi2002004174#). The status of the Catholic Church in Peru is studied and the outcome examined in light of the trend toward secularization noted elsewhere in Latin America (item #bi2001007417#). An illustration of an emerging set of local rural institutions, the "rondas campesinas" or local self-defense forces, is among the works reviewed this biennium (item #bi2001007437#). A comparative examination of prisons in Latin America based on Goffman's total institutions perspective is also included here (item #bi2001007431#).

Among the works reviewed are several which study culture and cultural traditions. The fiesta in rural areas and shanty towns across Peru is examined as evidence of strong communities as well as of domination (item #bi2001007424#). Some ethnographies are reviewed, including a classic community study exploring the balance between private interests and collective action in the northern Sierra (item #bi2001007423#) and a study of urban sex workers in Lima (item #bi2001007447#).

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