This is a compilation of useful and relevant research I have gathered and applied to humanitarian and missionary work in the community of La Carpio, Costa Rica from 2008-2011. The main reason for reading through these resources was to improve the services I help provide to the youth in the area of developing computer competency and more general transformational development. As a candidate for a master’s degree in applied anthropology, I focused more in-depth on the academic resources that are available. I found a useful wealth of research, some specific to La Carpio, some more general about Nicaraguan immigration in Costa Rica, and some more theoretical about migration and urban growth.
My involvement has been focused in the area of developing computer competency among male youth, in partnership with Christ for the City and the Community of Faith computer labs. I have taught classes in computer programming, trained and supervised other youth to teach the same topic, and helped install and maintain the computer labs where the classes are taught. I currently live in La Carpio (La Cuarta parada, “Pequeña Nueva Ciudad / La Cueva del Sapo” or however it is currently labeled) where I have been learning from a local home-stay experience since June 2011. This annotated bibliography is informed by those experiences as well.
I recognize that most of us working in La Carpio are extremely busy attending to everyday requirements of the services we provide. However, I wanted to provide coworkers and fellow partners with a short sampling of some of the research I found most applicable and relevant. I hope you find some of it useful.
LA CARPIO–SPECIFIC RESEARCH
ISSUES FACING LA CARPIO AS A MARGINALIZED, BINATIONAL COMMUNITY
2009 Narrating Lived Experience in a Binational Community in Costa Rica. In Ethnicities and Values in a Changing World. Gargi Bhattacharyya, ed. Pp. 155-168. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
Keywords: binational communities, migration, urban growth, costa rica, identity politics
Summary: This article describes basic demographic information about the La Carpio community’s residents, highlighting specific issues that face them as marginalized members of Costa Rican society. It links what is materially disposable (ie – garbage, pollution, contaminated water) with what is socially undesirable (migrants, poverty, crime), and describes how public discourse reinforces these generalizations. This has implications for how the community members see and understand themselves, and how they are perceived from the outside. The article highlights some key topics that were identified by residents as part of a larger sociological study recording narrative histories of people in the community.
Further notes: This article is by far the most detailed and relevant to missionaries and development workers in La Carpio, Costa Rica. It connects issues facing the community with larger issues of security, immigration, segregation, and identity politics in Costa Rica. The article is part of a much larger body of work, some of which is extremely detailed (facts and statistics) and some of which is extremely personable (in-depth interviews, workshops, and children’s art that the researchers collected in the community). There are several more publications by this research group of authors that are the best references available on La Carpio. The research team continues to be active and involved in La Carpio, and maintain a good relationship with the community. If only one article is read in preparation for working in La Carpio, it should be this one, or its Spanish equivalent (listed below).
Sandoval, Carlos, Mónica Brenes Montoya, Laura Paniagua Arguedas, and Karen Masís Fernández
2010 Un país fragmentado: La Carpio: comunidad, cultura y política. Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio, Costa Rica: Editorial Universidad de Costa Rica.
Summary: This is the most recent and exhaustive compilation of research data from the La Carpio Project conducted by the University of Costa Rica. It is the most dense, detailed, and thorough. Not for light reading. Available from the UCR library.
2005 La Carpio. La experiencia de segregación urbana y estigmatización social. Escuela de Comunicación/Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales, Universidad de Costa Rica.
Summary: Also worth highlighting, this article is the original Spanish version of the updated 2009 article. It contains a little bit better detail and specificity, I assume because the audience is Costa Rican and already knows more about the issues it addresses.
Sandoval, Carlos, Mónica Brenes Montoya, Laura Paniagua Arguedas, and Karen Masís Fernández
2007 Nuestras Vidas en Carpio: Aportes para una historia popular. Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio, Costa Rica: Editorial Universidad de Costa Rica.
Can be purchased at UCR library or on-line here:
Summary: This is a colorful, fun collection of interviews, art, and perspectivas gathered from research and essay submissions from residents of La Carpio. Lots of fun, very interesting, and not nearly as heady and academic as the rest of these resources. Also very interesting, there is a collection of interview transcripts here: http://www.iis.ucr.ac.cr/personal/investigadores/VocesdelaCarpio.pdf
2005 La Carpio: Sensationalist Reporting and Clear Voices. Revista Envio Digital 282, January. http://www.envio.org.ni/articulo.php/2782, accessed March 12, 2010.
2008 La Carpio: exposing the hidden violence of poverty and marginalization in Costa Rica. Peace and Conflict Monitor, October 3. http://www.monitor.upeace.org/innerpg.cfm?id_article=547, accessed March 12, 2010.
Summary: The two articles above do not include a lot of original research or information, but they do a nice job of restating some of the issues raised by the UCR research team and linking it to other sources and theory.
2002 Otros amenazantes. Los nicaraguënses y la formación de identidades nacionales en Costa Rica. San José, Editorial Universidad de Costa Rica.
2004 Contested Discourses on National Identity: Representing Nicaraguan Immigration in Costa Rica. Bulletin of Latin American Research 23(4): 434-445.
2008 Otros amenazantes. Los nicaraguënses y la formación de identidades nacionales en Costa Rica. San José, Editorial Universidad de Costa Rica.
Summary: These final three articles focus more on Nicaraguan immigration in general. They are good sources of information, but they do not address La Carpio specifically.
Nicaraguan Migration in Costa Rica
Marquette, Catherine M.
2006 Nicaraguan Migrants in Costa Rica. Población y Salud en Mesoamérica 4(1).
Keywords: nicaraguan migration, costa rica, migration, poverty
Summary: This article contains detailed census information and demographical statistics about Nicaraguan migration into Costa Rica. It notes general trends since 1990, which relate more to economical motives than war-time refugee fleeing of the 80’s. It includes specific information on areas closely related to levels of poverty – education, labor characteristics, household size, health services available to immigrants, living standards, public reception, and government policy. It concludes with specific recommendations for various service providers based on the statistical analysis.
Barquero, Jorge A. and Juan C. Vargas
2004 La Migración Internacional en Costa Rica: Estado Actual y Consecuencias. In Evolución Demográfica de Costa Rica y su Impacto en Los Sistemas de Salud y Pensiones. López, Grettel and Reinaldo Herrera, eds. Pp. 55-85. San José, Costa Rica: Academia de Centroamérica.
Fruttero and Wennerholm
2008 Migración Nicaragüense: un análisis con perspectiva de género. Banco Mundial, Washington, DC.
LATIN AMERICAN SQUATTER SETTLEMENTS, MODERNIZATION, AND GLOBAL CITIES (GENERAL THEORY ABOUT URBAN GROWTH)
1967 Latin American Squatter Settlements: A Problem and a Solution. Latin American Research Review: 2(3): 65-98.
Keywords: squatter settlements, migration, development, modernization, urban growth, latin America
Summary: Although a dated article, Mangin addresses specific myths and issues related to Latin American squatter settlements but points out how these settlements play a key role in modernization. Squatter settlements are burdened with the task of developing at a pace more rapidly than the surrounding political structure permits. However, they also play an important role in the modernization of a region and provide important labor resources for industrialized production. Squatter settlements, then, are often framed as a problem but their very existence is often a solution to the pressures of rapid modernization.
Brettell, Caroline B.
2000 Theorizing Migration in Anthropology: the Social Construction of Networks, Identities, Communities, and Globalscapes. In Migration Theory. Caroline B. Brettell and James F. Hollifield, eds. Pp. 97-122. New York: Routledge.
Chavez, Leo R.
1991 Outside the Imagined Community: Undocumented Settlers and Experiences of Incorporation. American Ethnologist 18(2): 257-278.
1998 Latin America On-Line: The Internet, Development, and Democratization. Human Organization: 57(4): 385-393.
Mahler, Sarah J.
1995 American Dreaming: immigrant life in the margins. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
2002 Global Cities and Survival Circuits. In Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy. Ehrenreich, Barabara and Arlie Russell Hochschild, eds. New York, New York: Henry Holt and Company.
News Reports – Sensationalized and Informational
2011 Aguas negras del Valle Central serán tratadas en La Carpio. La Nación, January 29. www.nacion.com/2011-01-30/ElPais/NotaPrincipal/ElPais1801426.aspx, accessed April 14, 2011.
N.d. Proyecto PTA Uruka. http://ebicostarica.com/PTAUruka.aspx, accessed April 19, 2011.
2010 Malos olores invaden La Carpio. La Prensa, August 19. http://www.laprensa.com.ni/2010/08/19/nacionales/35028, accessed April 15, 2011.
2007 Vecinos denuncian malos olores por relleno en La Carpio. La Nación, November 13. http://wvw.nacion.com/ln_ee/2007/noviembre/13/pais1311943.html, accessed April 19, 2011.
2010 Crisis económica golpeó más a los que menos tienen. La Nación, November 2. http://www.nacion.com/2010-11-03/ElPais/NotasSecundarias/ElPais2575663.aspx?Page=2, accessed April 15, 2011.
2008 Sala IV obliga a eliminar malos olores de relleno en La Carpio. La Nación, October 31. http://wvw.nacion.com/ln_ee/2008/octubre/31/pais1757388.html, accessed April 19, 2011.
2010 Nicaragua and Costa Rica: Dredging up votes. The Economist, November 11. http://www.economist.com/node/17463483, accessed April 11, 2011.
BLOGS, PHOTO ALBUMS, VIDEOS, ARTISTIC WORKS, REFLECTIONS, AND OTHER RELEVANT ON-LINE LINKS
2004 El Nica. Quotes retrieved and translated by author from Revista Envío Digital 266, May. http:// www.envio.org.ni/articulo/2138, accessed May 6, 2011.
Village of Hope documentary