XXVIII International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association
Eric HershbergSimon Fraser University
Evelyne HuberUniversity of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Cynthia SteeleUniversity of Washington - Seattle
Latin America has long been known as the world region with the highest levels of inequality, yet the degree and nature of inequalities vary across the domains of economics, politics and culture. The struggle to overcome inequalities has engendered social movements for centuries, and today as in various moments in the past has motivated interventions by policymakers. Many of these efforts have not been without impact, and their achievements may be underestimated by scholars and citizens alike. Yet by all accounts the distribution of assets and power remains fundamentally unequal even as the region undergoes profound changes in its social and economic structures, political institutions and cultural norms. Neither theory nor practice has grasped adequately the complexities of Latin America's inequalities or the factors that sustain or undermine them over time. Understanding of inequalities requires insights from disciplines across the social sciences and humanities, and demands attention to the circumstances and strategies of the rich as well as the poor, of the privileged as well as the subaltern.