Introduction: Sociocultural Processes That Produce, Sustain and Sometimes Transform Uneven Geographies of Development
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The past few decades have brought improved conditions and increased opportunities for some social groups in some places in Latin America while leading to greater inequality and exploitation along other dimensions of difference. This book explores these uneven processes by connecting research on changes developing since the 1980s with a theoretical approach that is different from prevailing scholarship and practice in critical ways. First, it considers interactions among all gender identities in a systemic framework that integrates attention to variously positioned men and masculinities with more conventional approaches to gender and development focused on women. Second, it does not limit causal questions to how given changes impact certain individuals or groups but asks how gender interacts with other sociocultural systems to impact the evolution of institutions and environments. Also unusual is the effort made to link together phenomena operating in various spaces and on multiple scales, ranging in character from region-wide statistical trends to national demographic profiles, community and household practices and norms, and local environmental conditions. By forging new ways of thinking about the dynamics of uneven development, I endeavor to strengthen the capacity of future research, policies and programs to support changes leading to greater equity with difference.