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  • The Allure of Labor: Workers, Race, and the Making of the Peruvian State

    Author(s): Paulo Drinot
    Published: 2011
    Pages: 328
    Illustrations: 13 illustrations
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  • Acknowledgments  ix
    Introduction  1
    1. Racializing Labor  17
    2. Constituting Labor  51
    3. Disciplining Labor  85
    4. Domesticating Labor  123
    5. Feeding Labor  161
    6. Healing Labor  193
    Conclusion  231
    Notes  239
    Bibliography  281
    Index  305
  • The Allure of Labor is an outstanding book, and its contribution to debates about race, identity, and state formation extend its relevance far beyond Peru.”—Charles F. Walker, author of Shaky Colonialism: The 1746 Earthquake-Tsunami in Lima, Peru, and Its Long Aftermath

    “In this important book, Paulo Drinot explains perfectly the paradox of Peru’s early-twentieth-century labor legislation. On the one hand, it was comparatively progressive given the country’s level of industrialization. On the other hand, it was entirely inadequate in dealing with the labor conditions experienced by most of the country’s workers. . . . I have long looked for a book that clearly highlights the hopes and fears that ‘modernity’ inspired among Peru’s elites, and the way that their ambivalence was racialized. The Allure of Labor does the trick.”—David S. Parker, author of The Idea of the Middle Class: White-Collar Workers and Peruvian Society, 1900–1950

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  • Description

    In The Allure of Labor, Paulo Drinot rethinks the social politics of early-twentieth-century Peru. Arguing that industrialization was as much a cultural project as an economic one, he describes how intellectuals and policymakers came to believe that industrialization and a modern workforce would transform Peru into a civilized nation. Preoccupied with industrial progress but wary of the disruptive power of organized labor, these elites led the Peruvian state into new areas of regulation and social intervention designed to protect and improve the modern, efficient worker, whom they understood to be white or mestizo. Their thinking was shaped by racialized assumptions about work and workers inherited from the colonial era and inflected through scientific racism and positivism.

    Although the vast majority of laboring peoples in Peru were indigenous, in the minds of social reformers indigeneity was not commensurable with labor: Indians could not be workers and were therefore excluded from the labor policies enacted in the 1920s and 1930s and, more generally, from elite conceptions of industrial progress. Drinot shows how the incommensurability of indigeneity with labor was expressed in the 1920 constitution, in specific labor policies, and in the activities of state agencies created to oversee collective bargaining and provide workers with affordable housing, inexpensive food, and social insurance. He argues that the racialized assumptions of the modernizing Peruvian state are reflected in the enduring inequalities of present-day Peru.

    About The Author(s)

    Paulo Drinot is Senior Lecturer in Latin American History at the Institute of the Americas, University College London. He is the editor of Che’s Travels: The Making of a Revolutionary in 1950s Latin America, also published by Duke University Press.