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The following review appeared in the 2015 issue of CHOICE:

Scarritt, Arthur. Racial spoils from native soils: how neoliberalism steals indigenous lands in highland Peru. Lexington Books, 2015. 137p bibl index afp ISBN 9780739191378 cloth, $80.00; ISBN 9780739191385 ebook, $79.99

Sociologist Scarritt (Boise State Univ.) asks how a small minority population of European descent manages to continue to dominate a larger and antagonistic native population.  This is not a particularly original question, as class divisions heavily informed by racial discrimination arguably provide one of the defining characteristics of what scholars today call Latin America.  Scarritt defines neoliberalism as a colonial question, or what has also been termed the “Indian Problem,” in which those who own the means of production maintain a subordinate population in a marginalized and exploited situation.  The study’s usefulness is in its ethnography of how capitalism has underdeveloped one specific community, in this case, the village of Huaytabamba in the Peruvian highlands.  Specifically, Scarritt examines how intermediaries play their position as brokers between a marginalized community and the dominant culture to their own advantage.  This case study appears to document a depressing failure in which the community is never able to escape these exploitative relationships.  Perhaps the abusive political and economic structures are larger than what a single community can undo on its own. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, faculty.

--M. Becker, Truman State University

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