Uneven development in western Guatemala

L. R. Goldin, M. E. Saenz De Tejada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The notion of distance from the core of the marketing system has been used to explain economic differences between townships in western Guatemala. We presented a model that identifies three variables that bear on uneven economic development under these conditions, ie occupation, religion, and economic ideology. When comparing two townships with comparable resources but economically distinct, we find confirmation for the basic tenets of the theory. The township of Almolonga, shows a larger percentage of the population who have engaged not only in the production of vegetables but who have specialized in vegetables with export potential and who have extended and diversified their markets to include several sites in Central America and Mexico. Almolonguenos have changed their traditional occupational activities to include trade. In comparison to Zunil, Almolonguenos have moved away from more traditional economic attitudes, even when people in Zunil have separated themselves from the practice of traditional Mayan rituals and participation in cofradias. We also observed more conversions to Protestantism in Almolonga than in Zunil, and the difference is impressive. While Zunil exhibits economic differentiation within the town, it is most marked along ethnic lines. As the people of Almolonga develop more acute entrepreneurial skills, they search for human and environmental resources beyond Almolonga, generating uneven development within the region. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-251
Number of pages15
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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