The Devil behind the Mirror: Globalization and Politics in the Dominican Republic

The Devil behind the Mirror: Globalization and Politics in the Dominican Republic

The Devil behind the Mirror: Globalization and Politics in the Dominican Republic

The Devil behind the Mirror: Globalization and Politics in the Dominican Republic

Synopsis

In The Devil behind the Mirror, Steven Gregory provides a compelling and intimate account of the impact that transnational processes associated with globalization are having on the lives and livelihoods of people in the Dominican Republic. Grounded in ethnographic fieldwork conducted in the adjacent towns of Boca Chica and Andrés, Gregory's study deftly demonstrates how transnational flows of capital, culture, and people are mediated by contextually specific power relations, politics, and history. He explores such topics as the informal economy, the making of a telenova, sex tourism, and racism and discrimination against Haitians, who occupy the lowest rung on the Dominican economic ladder. Innovative, beautifully written, and now updated with a new preface, The Devil behind the Mirror masterfully situates the analysis of global economic change in everyday lives.

Excerpt

In July 2013, my friend and former research assistant Milquella Reyes sent me a friend request on Facebook from Santo Domingo. We had lost touch with each other in the years since my fieldwork for The Devil behind the Mirror. Later that evening we spoke by telephone. Excitedly, she told me that she had recently participated in a demonstration in the capital. It had been organized by the Movimiento Justicia Fiscal (Movement for Fiscal Justice), just one of a number of groups and coalitions that had been formed to oppose the tax increases and other austerity measures that the administration of President Danilo Medina had passed.

The tax increases were intended to reduce the nation’s deficit ($4.6 billion at the end of 2012) in the lead-up to another round of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund. Critics argued that this debt had been incurred through corruption and excessive “legacy” spending during the prior regime, of President Leonel Fernández. the tax hike, which raised the value-added tax from 16 to 18 percent, was particularly onerous for working people, since it inflated the costs of food, fuel, and other essential staples. the austerity measures had led to mass protests in the capital and elsewhere in the country.

In her Facebook profile photograph, Milquella was standing in a crowd of protesters in Independence Park, grinning widely and carrying a hand-

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