From Collectivism to Capitalism: Neoliberalism and Rural Mobilization in Nicaragua



This article draws on longitudinal, ethnographic data gathered in rural Nicaragua over a two-decade period to examine the ideological and political implications of neoliberalism in the prefigurative, grassroots stages of social mobilization. It contrasts divergent path-dependent processes of accommodation and resistance to neoliberalism as Nicaraguan peasants have moved from collectivism to individual farming, with an emphasis on interpretive processes. This study explores how market processes both serve as an external grievance and operate internally in rural communities to reconfigure rural social relations and individual and collective identities. It also seeks to develop concepts and interpretations that may be applied more broadly to analyze links between deepening market processes and the forms and content of social movement responses to deteriorating economic conditions.