1st Edition

The Middle Classes in Latin America Subjectivities, Practices, and Genealogies

    524 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    524 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    As a collective effort, this volume locates the formation of the middle classes at the core of the histories of Latin America in the last two centuries. Featuring scholars from different places across the Americas, it is an interdisciplinary contribution to the world histories of the middle classes, histories of Latin America, and intersectional studies. It also engages a larger audience about the importance of the middle classes to understand modernity, democracy, neoliberalism, and decoloniality. By including research produced from a variety of Latin American, North American, and other audiences, the volume incorporates trends in social history, cultural studies and discursive theory. It situates analytical categories of race and gender at the core of class formation. This volume seeks to initiate a critical and global conversation concerning the ways in which the analysis of the middle classes provides crucial re-readings of how Latin America, as a region, has historically been understood.


    Gilbert M. Joseph

    1. Introduction: "For the First Time Ever"

    A. Ricardo López-Pedreros

    Part I: Liberalism, the Idea of Race, and Neoliberalism

    Introduction to Part I

    Claudia Stern

    2. "São Paulo is Modernity": Middle-Class Identity and Narratives of Exceptionalism in Brazil

    Barbara Weinstein

    3. Uneven Development and the Concept of the Middle Class: Costa Rica, 1890–1950

    George I. García-Quesada

    4. The Ordeal of Decency: A Perspective on Mexico City’s Urban Space and Middle Classes (1952–1966)

    Sara Minerva Luna Elizarrarás

    5. Gender, Race, and the Evolution of Middle-class Identity in the Mexico City Press, 1820-1900

    Susie S. Porter  

    6. Escaping the Carimbas: An Intersectional Analysis of "Black" Middle-Class Trajectories in Colombia

    Mara Viveros-Vigoya

    Part II: Labor, Consumption, and Political Disparities

    Introduction to Part II

    Claudia Stern

    7. Sales Knowledge, Labor Mobility, and Working-Class Identity: Store Clerks (Argentina, 1900–1940)

    Graciela Queirolo

    8. The Cost of Love: Middle Classes, Consumption, and Sentimentalism in Mexico (1880–1920)

    María Graciela León Matamoros

    9. Tango, Morality, and Nostalgia in the Making of a Middle-Class Subjectivity in Argentina

    Enrique Garguin

    10. Public-Sector Employment, the Middle Classes, and Social Position in Mexico City in the Early 1900s

    Mario Barbosa Cruz

    11. "Cheerful, Attentive, and Polite": Store Clerks and the Middle Class in Early-Twentieth-Century Mexico City

    Cristina Sánchez Parra

    Part III: The State, Social Movements, and the Cold War

    Introduction to Part III

    Mario Barbosa Cruz

    12. The Middle Classes and Anti-Communism During the Cárdenas Presidency in Mexico: Nationalist Dynamics in a Transnational Framework

    Sebastián Rivera Mir

    13. "Tigers, Cholo-Jacobins, and Red Government Officials": Roles and Discourses of the Radical Middle Class in Ecuador Between 1895 and 1938

    Valeria Coronel

    14. Towards a New Cultural Sociology of the Latin American Middle Class: Ecuador’s Middle-Class Revolution as a Collective Representation

    Celso M. Villegas

    15. Silences, Confessions, and Taboos: Petit Bourgeoise’s Dissident Memories of Political Radicalization in Bogotá 

    A. Ricardo López-Pedreros

    16. "Young People Committed to the Motherland": Middle Class Masculinity, Radicalization, and the Fragmentation of the "Integral Chileans" in the 1970s

    Claudia Stern

    Part IV: Social Mobility, Neoliberal Discourses, and the "Pink Tide"

    Introduction to Part IV

    A. Ricardo López-Pedreros

    17. A "Middle-Class Country": Social Mobility, Progress, and Genealogical Origins in the Public Discourse in Argentina (2002–2015)

    Sergio E. Visacovsky

    18. Middle-Class Sensorial: Conceptualizing the Experience of Inhabiting "the Middle" in Brazil’s Post-Neoliberal Public Housing

    Moisés Kopper

    19. Residential Practices of Three Generations of a Middle-Class Family: Mortgages, Honor, and Inequalities in Mexico City

    Claudia Zamorano

    20. Class Transvestism in Chile: When the Poor Became Middle Class

    Azun Candina Polomer

    21. Taxonomy, Identity, Mode of Being, or Political Project?: Epistemologies of "Middle Class" in Latin America Since 1948

    David S. Parker

    22. From White-Collar Employment to Managerial Influence Among the Middle Class in Early-Twenty-First Century Mexico City

    Terioska Gámez

    23. Equality or Hierarchy? Solidarity with Those Above or Below?: Dilemmas of Gendered Self- Identification in a New Bolivian Middle Class

    Miriam Shakow   

    Epilogue: "Was It Worth Coming?": The Global Drama of Middle-Class Lives in Latin America

    Brian Owensby


    Mario Barbosa Cruz is Professor in the Humanities Department at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana.

    A. Ricardo López-Pedreros is Professor of History at Western Washington University

    Claudia Stern is Research Associate at The Latin American Centre for the History of Housing CEIHVAL and lecturer at the MEUVAL at the Architecture, Design and Urban Studies Faculty at Universidad de Buenos Aires, FADU-UBA.