Shifting alliances: Reciprocal relationships during times of economic hardship in urban bolivia

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Abstract

Recent research indicates that urban reciprocity, a survival strategy used by the urban poor to self-insure against economic risks, has been eroded by deepening poverty and economic insecurity. This paper examines how the urban poor maintain reciprocal relationships in Villa Israel, a periurban settlement located on the outskirts of the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia. The results indicate that, while some reciprocal relationships do appear to be in decline, others have been transformed in ways that enhance security for participants. In particular, there appears to have been a shift away from reciprocal relationships formed on the basis of compadrazgo (ritual godparenthood) and "paisanidad" (shared origin) and toward those formed around commerce and evangélico (Protestant or evangelical) churches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-133
Number of pages11
JournalChungara
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011

Keywords

  • Bolivia
  • Cochabamba
  • Poverty
  • Reciprocity
  • Survival strategies
  • Urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology

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