American Value: Migrants, Money, and Meaning in El Salvador by David Pedersen

By David Pedersen

Over the last half-century, El Salvador has reworked dramatically. traditionally reliant on basic exports like espresso and cotton, the rustic emerged from a brutal civil struggle in 1992 to discover a lot of its nationwide source of revenue now coming from a huge emigrant workforce—over 1 / 4 of its population—that earns cash within the usa and sends it domestic. In American Value, David Pedersen examines this new lifestyle because it extends throughout locations: Intipucá, a Salvadoran city notorious for its remittance wealth, and the Washington, DC, metro region, domestic to the second one biggest inhabitants of Salvadorans within the United States.

Pedersen charts El Salvador’s switch along American deindustrialization, viewing the Salvadoran migrant paintings talents utilized in new lowwage American provider jobs as one of those fundamental export, and indicates how the newest social stipulations linking either international locations are a part of an extended heritage of disparity around the Americas. Drawing at the paintings of Charles S. Peirce, he demonstrates how the defining worth forms—migrant paintings ability, companies, and remittances—act as symptoms, construction an ethical global by way of speaking their exchangeability whereas hiding the violence and exploitation on which this tale rests. Theoretically subtle, ethnographically wealthy, and compellingly written, American Value bargains serious insights into practices which are more and more universal in the course of the global.

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They rented their dwelling from one member of this group while other household members found employment with DC-connected town residents. In this sense, part of the 10 introduction pronounced wealth of the DC-connected group in the town rested on everything done in this household to generate the monthly rent and produce the work capacities supplied by the residents. In this respect, the three women were part of the dominant story of the town, but remained invisible in it from the usual perspective of its telling.

It includes as well the United States’ transformation over the same half century from a country dominated by industrial manufacturing, to one now much defined by production of services and high-tech goods. As I have mentioned, the Intipucá-DC connection story is both a product of and a player in this overall transformation, but as one should now expect, there is much more to the story. Moving between larger process (El Salvador and the United States over the past half-century) and smaller moment (for example, a 1979 empirical measure of Intipucá’s population in a DC neighborhood) and then back out to a more fully explored larger part by uncovering what went into the measure and also what it contributed to, is not a typical method of analysis.

40 This is the shift from stories to storytelling, from signs to semeiotic, from objects of wealth to value as representational proclivity that lies at the heart of this book and its method. I would like to return to the wave-water metaphor to re-emphasize some implications of this perspective on value, which then sets the ground for a more detailed discussion of what is necessarily presupposed by this framework. Following the epigraph taken from Calvino, any form of value is not moving about atomistically, separate from the larger whole from which it has emerged and which it reciprocally shapes.

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