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Cultural Expression and Grassroots Development: Cases from Latin America and theCaribbean

Charles David Kleymeyer, editor
ISBN: 978-1-55587-499-5
1994/293 pages/LC: 93-30868

" excellent introduction to the increasingly popular topic of culture and development."—Christopher Paetzold, Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies


Arguing that a people's own cultural heritage is the foundation on which equitable and sustainable development can best be built, this book presents an innovative, culture-based approach to grassroots development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The approach seeks to retain a population's special cultural strengths and contributions while enabling them to achieve necessary changes in their social and economic conditions. Their "cultural energy"—a concept introduced in the book—is thus tapped into, and in turn drives further development efforts.

The authors provide illustrations from 215 cases in 30 countries, ranging from handicraft production, adult literacy centers, and community bread ovens, to collections of folktales and harvest chants, to reforestation and conservation efforts.


Charles David Kleymeyer is senior fellow at the Center for the Support of Nativelands. He has written extensively in both English and Spanish; his most recent publications include La Expresion Cultural y el Desarrollo de Base. He holds a PhD in development from the University of Wisconsin, and has been a cultural activist and storyteller in the U.S. for two decades.


  • Foreword—D. Maybury-Lewis.
  • Introduction—C.D. Kleymeyer.
  • The Uses and Functions of Cultural Expression in Grassroots Development—C.D. Kleymeyer.
  • Identity and Self-Respect—P. Breslin.
  • La Feria Educativa: A Wellspring of Ideas and Cultural Pride—C.D. Kleymeyer and C. Moreno.
  • Women's Theater in Jamaica—Sistren Theatre Collective.
  • Recapturing the Old Ways: Traditional Knowledge and Western Science Among the Kuna Indians of Panama—M. Chapin.
  • Black Poetry of Coastal Ecuador—J.G. Salazar.
  • Self-History and Self-Identity in Talamanca—P.R. Palmer.
  • Reviving Crafts and Affirming Culture:From Grassroots Development to National Policy—B. Goff.
  • Taquile's Homespun Tourism—K. Healy and E. Zorn.
  • Work and Tradition—M.C. Kayap, M. Jempékat, C. Moreno, and C.D. Kleymeyer.
  • Living with the Land: Ethnicity and Development in Chile—A. Wali.
  • From Failure to Success: Tapping the Creative Energy in Sikuani Culture in Colombia—X. Herrera and M. Lobo-Guerrero.
  • Cultural Expression and Grassroots Development—C.D. Kleymeyer.