Over the last two decades, economic, political, and social life in Latin America has been transformed by the region's accelerated integration into the global economy. Although this transformation has tended to exacerbate various inequities, new forms of popular expression and action challenging the contemporary structures of capital and power have also developed.This volume is a comprehensive, genuinely comparative text on contemporary Latin America. In it, an international group of contributors offer multidimensional analyses of the historical context, contemporary character, and future direction of rural transformation, urbanization, economic restructuring, and the transition to political democracy. In addition, individual essays address the changing role of women, the influence of religion, the growth of new social movements, the struggles of indigenous peoples, and ecological issues. Finally, the book examines the influence of U.S. policy and of regionalization and globalization on the Latin American states.