by Scott Whiteford
University of Texas Press, 1981
eISBN: 978-1-4773-0705-2 | Paper: 978-1-4773-0703-8 | Cloth: 978-0-292-79015-5
Library of Congress Classification HD5856.A7W46
Dewey Decimal Classification 331.6284082


International migration between countries in Latin America became increasingly important during the twentieth century, but for a long time it was the subject of only limited research. Scott Whiteford sets the Argentina-Bolivia experience in historical perspective by examining the macrolevel factors that influenced social change in both countries and brought streams of migration into Argentina. Seasonal labor, the expansion of capitalist agriculture, international migration, and urbanization are central topics in this in-depth study of Bolivian migrants in Northwest Argentina.

Whiteford’s vivid portrayal of the lives and working conditions of the migrants is based on two years of research during which he lived with the workers on a sugar plantation and, after the harvest, accompanied them to other farms and to the city of Salta in their search for more work. He traces the development of plantation agriculture in Northwest Argentina and the processes by which the plantation gained access to cheap labor and maintained control over it.

As Bolivians migrated to Argentina in ever greater numbers, many recruited for the harvest remained. Whiteford’s analysis of the diverse strategies employed by workers and their families to support themselves during the post-harvest season is a major contribution to migration literature. The four distinct but related patterns of migration that he describes created a labor reserve that transcends rural/urban designations, one that is utilized by employers in both the countryside and the city.

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