The Mayan in the Mall: Globalization, Development, and the Making of Modern Guatemala

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Duke University Press, Apr 16, 2012 - History - 310 pages
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In The Mayan in the Mall, J. T. Way traces the creation of modern Guatemala from the 1920s to the present through a series of national and international development projects. Way shows that, far from being chronically underdeveloped, this nation of stark contrasts—where shopping malls and multinational corporate headquarters coexist with some of the Western Hemisphere's poorest and most violent slums—is the embodiment of globalized capitalism.

Using a wide array of historical and contemporary sources, Way explores the multiple intersections of development and individual life, focusing on the construction of social space through successive waves of land reform, urban planning, and economic policy. His explorations move from Guatemala City's poorest neighborhoods and informal economies (run predominantly by women) to a countryside still recovering from civil war and anti-Mayan genocide, and they encompass such artifacts of development as the modernist Pan-American Highway and the postmodern Grand Tikal Futura, a Mayan-themed shopping mall ringed by gated communities and shantytowns. Capitalist development, Way concludes, has dramatically reshaped the country's physical and social landscapes—engendering poverty, ethnic regionalism, and genocidal violence—and positioned Guatemala as a harbinger of globalization's future.

 

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Contents

Grand Tikal Futura Putting the Mayan in the Mall
1
Like Sturdy Little Animals Making the Modern AntiModern 1920s1944
13
Chaos and Rationality The Dialectic of the Guatemalan Ghetto
41
Oficios de su Sexo Gender the Informal Economy and Anticommunist Development
67
Making the Immoral Metropolis Infrastructure Economics and War
94
Executing Capital Green Revolution Genocide and the Transition to Neoliberalism
124
A Society of Vendors Contradictions and Everyday Life in the Guatemalan Market
152
Cuatro Gramos Norte Fragmentation and Concentration in the Wake of Victory
181
A Grassroots List of Transnationals in Guatemala circa 1978
210
Notes
217
Glossary
277
Bibliography
279
Index
301
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About the author (2012)

J. T. Way is Assistant Professor of Latin American History at Georgia State University.

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