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The Many Meanings of Poverty: Colonialism, Social Compacts, and Assistance in Eighteenth-Century Ecuador

The Many Meanings of Poverty: Colonialism, Social Compacts, and Assistance in Eighteenth-Century Ecuador (Hardback)

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Synopsis

This book analyzes the diverse understandings of poverty in a multiracial colonial society, eighteenth-century Quito. It shows that in a colonial world both a pauper and a landowner could lay claim to assistance as the "deserving poor" while the vast majority of the impoverished Andean population did not share the same avenues of poor relief. The Many Meanings of Poverty asks how colonialism shaped arguments about poverty-such as the categories of "deserving" and "undeserving" poor-in multiracial Quito, and forwards three central observations: poverty as a social construct (based on gender, age, and ethnoracial categories); the importance of these arguments in the creation of governing legitimacy; and the presence of the "social" and "economic" poor. An examination of poverty illustrates changing social and religious attitudes and practices towards poverty and the evolution of the colonial state during the eighteenth-century Bourbon reforms.

Cynthia E. Milton is Canada Research Chair in Latin American History at the Universite de Montreal. She is coeditor of The Art of Truthtelling about Authoritarian Rule (2005)

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