We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

E-book purchase
Choose a subscription

Downloaded copy on your device does not expire. Includes 4 years of Bookshelf Online.


Where applicable, tax will be added to the above price prior to payment.

E-book purchasing help


City of Flowers

An Ethnography of Social and Economic Change in Costa Rica's Central Valley

Susan E. Mannon

Publication Date - 01 March 2016

ISBN: 9780190464431

224 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

In Stock

An engaging, timely ethnographic study that explores how individuals and households give meaning and shape to social and economic change in Costa Rica


City of Flowers is an ethnographic study of social and economic change in Costa Rica. Rather than investigate how macroeconomic forces bear down on workers and households, this book explores how individuals and households give meaning and shape to neoliberalism as it evolves over time. Drawing on twenty years of field work and 100 life histories of people living in one Costa Rican city, the book considers how individuals in four different class locations negotiate the economic changes going on around them. Author Susan E. Mannon argues that these responses are bound up in class, race, and gender aspirations and anxieties.

City of Flowers is a volume in the ISSUES OF GLOBALIZATION: CASE STUDIES IN CONTEMPORARY ANTHROPOLOGY series, which examines the experiences of individual communities in our contemporary world. Each volume offers a brief and engaging exploration of a particular issue arising from globalization and its cultural, political, and economic effects on certain peoples or groups.

About the Author(s)

Susan E. Mannon is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Her work has been published in Gender & Society and Human Organization.

Table of Contents


    Chapter 1: A Book of One's Own
    A Brief History of Neoliberalism
    Globalization and the Ethnographic Imagination
    Economic Change as Biography
    An Introduction to the Study

    Chapter 2: A Nation Born and Transformed
    A Coffee Culture Constructed
    Birth of the Second Republic
    Economic Crisis and Transformation
    An Ethnography Begins

    Chapter 3: Mobility in the New Millennium
    Luis' Story
    Heredia's New Professionals
    The Making of a Gated Community
    Violeta's Rebellion
    The Pitfalls of Progress

    Chapter 4: Love and Money in the Middle Class
    Rosalina's Story
    Heredia's Storied Middle Class
    Our Lady of Neighborly Love
    Margarita's Problem
    Lessons from the Corner Store

    Chapter 5: Fragile Families and Feminized Work
    Mario's Story
    Heredia's Changing Working Class
    The Ties that Break and Bind
    Carlos' Mistake
    Downward Mobility in the New Economy

    Chapter 6: Shadow Workers and Social Exclusion
    Esperanza's Story
    Heredia's New Urban Marginals
    Precarious Living and Livelihood
    Pedro's Request
    The Racial Politics of Social Exclusion

    Chapter 7: The Ethnographic Imagination Revisited
    Economic Change Retold
    Patriotism, Protest and the Neoliberal Project
    A Nation Reimagined
    The Ignoble Ethnographer

    Appendix: Characteristics of the Sample

Related Titles