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Anuario de Estudios Centroamericanos

On-line version ISSN 2215-4175Print version ISSN 0377-7316


FUENTES-GARCIA, Alberto. The apostles of development and the guatemalan sugar industry’s modernization. Anuario de Estudios Centroamericanos [online]. 2017, vol.43, pp.71-97. ISSN 2215-4175.

This study proposes a theoretical framework that combines two complementary approaches. First, building on the vulnerability scheme (Fuentes and Pipkin 2016), it suggests that during the 1970s and early 1980s, the industry faced the existential threat of a series of conditions of vulnerability, including widespread worker mobilization and the collapse of its main markets. This crisis fostered the search for new practices and business strategies. Second, following the “institutional logics” approach (Thornton et al 2012, Friedland and Alford 1991), the proposed argument posits that in this search, a small group of professionals, or “Apostles of Development,” inspired by the religious institutional logic, devised a series of novel practices and strategies in one of the industry’s mills. These same Apostles then diffused their new practices and strategies to other mills in the industry, thereby spawning the transformation. The article concludes with a discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of the case.

Keywords : Institutional logics; vulnerabilities; industrial modernization; sugar; Guatemala.

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