Type: M.E.S. Papers/Theses
One of the major challenges we face is how to reconcile economic growth under a neoliberal paradigm, with environmental conservation as proposed within a sustainable development paradigm. Peasants around the world are especially vulnerable to this contradiction. The peasants in the Alexander Skutch Biological Corridor in southern Costa Rica are no exception to this dilemma. Despite the fact that Costa Rica is well known for its commitment to environmental issues and for its history of having an effective social welfare state, its adoption of neoliberal policies is in contradiction with its commitment to sustainable development. This contradiction produces the social, economic, political and ideological context in which the peasants of the ASBC are embedded. In this context, this paper explores what it means to have a peasant identity, how they maintain their livelihoods as coffee growers, what level of environmental awareness they have, and how they navigate the complex current challenges of a neoliberal political economy.