Teetering on the Rim: Global Restructuring, Daily Life, and the Armed Retreat of the Bolivian State

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Columbia University Press, Jun 1, 2000 - Social Science - 288 pages

In this age when many trumpet the shrill fanfares of market triumphalism, few stop to ask how global political and economic restructuring is affecting impoverished states and transforming the daily lives of ordinary people. Teetering on the Rim asks just that question as it offers a critique "from below" of what has been called neoliberalism—the latest set of capitalist-inspired policies that posit "the market" as the remedy for all social and economic problems.

Focusing on an impoverished city on the periphery of La Paz, the Bolivian capital, Lesley Gill examines the ways in which neoliberal policies reorder social relations among poor men and women—and between them and the state. These vulnerable low-income people teetering on the edge of survival are forced to contend not only with the state but with each other as well as an array of international organizations to get what they need to continue to live. In an effort to understand ordinary people's changing sense of what is, and is not, possible, collectively and individually, after more than a decade of economic restructuring, Teetering on the Rim reveals the vast and relentless changes wrought in the fabric of social life and offers an instructive example of just what is wrong with the global economic order.


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About the author (2000)

Lesley Gill is an associate professor of anthropology at the American University. She has written two other books based on her fieldwork in Bolivia, where she has been conducting research since 1980: Peasants, Entrepreneurs, and Social Change: Frontier Development in Lowland Bolivia, which received an Outstanding Academic Book Award by Choice, and Precarious Dependencies: Gender, Class, and Domestic Service in Bolivia.

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