"Horton's book is an important contribution to scholarly literature on sustainability in the developing world . . . a thoughtful, nuanced analysis of sustainable development policies and practices in Central America at grassroots level."
—Ian W. Holloway, Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare
In recent years, sustainable development has emerged as a central goal of the World Bank and grassroots activists alike. In Grassroots Struggles for Sustainability in Central America, Lynn R. Horton explores the implications of this new, often contested discourse and related policies for Central America's rural and indigenous poor. Drawing on the testimony of leaders and residents of three communities in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, Horton explores grassroots assumptions, values, and practices of sustainable development and, in particular, the ways in which they overlap with or challenge international financial institutions' discourse of sustainability.
With a comparative, empirical approach, Horton also analyzes dominant practices linked to sustainable development—neoliberal reforms, project interventions, and environmental protection. She reveals how these practices support or undermine economic, cultural, and political opportunities for the rural and indigenous poor and impact these communities' advancement of their own visions of sustainability. Finally, the author explores processes of empowerment that enable communities to articulate and put into practice local visions of sustainability, which contribute toward broader social and structural transformations.
Grassroots Struggles for Sustainability in Central America will interest sociologists, anthropologists, and others who study the theory and practice of sustainable development.