The American Sociologist

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 155–176 | Cite as

Sociology on Latin America in the 1960s: Developmentalism, Imperialism, and Topical Tropism

  • Dimitri della Faille


This article reveals the emergence of the idea of development in the sociological study of Latin America in the United States as a specific product of history. We show how in the 1960s, it was the result of interaction between the economic, political, military, and scientific fields generated by the mobilization of resources based on their respective rules. We criticize the idea that sociology had clearly-defined goals during this period. Our research demonstrates, for instance, how the research conducted on Latin America during that period was rooted in “topical tropism”. Our investigation is based on the analysis of empirical data including institutional information, journal articles and historical archives.


Latin America United States Sociology Underdevelopment 1960s 



The author would like to thank Neil McLaughlin and Lawrence T. Nichols for their comments. Any errors or omissions, of course, are the author’s sole responsibility.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département des Sciences SocialesUniversité du Québec en OutaouaisGatineauCanada

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