Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Groves, Roderick T. (Roderick Trimble), 1936-||Sherbenou, Edgar

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


Community development; Latin America--Politics and government


The central concern of this study is the problem of political change and integration among the Latin American urban shantytown dwellers. As one of the least studied and therefore least understood aspects of Latin America, the shantytown has presented itself as an increasingly serious problem since World War II. This paper dispells many of the more prevalent misconceptions about these shantytowns and the people who dwell therein and presents a more factual, objective account of conditions and life in the shantytown. The role of community development and political party activities in the shantytown is also dealt with. These three threads—an accurate, objective account of the shantytowns, community development, and political parties--are then tied together to bear out the hypothesis of this paper: that community development can serve as an effective "ideology" (i.e. set of values) around which political parties could build a constituency and forge a meaningful link between the governed and the government, thereby facilitating the political integration of the urban shantytown dweller into the political process. A major finding of this study is that the shantytown is not the bleak slum that it is often viewed as being. The situation is actually quite the contrary. The people inhabiting these shantytowns actually view their invasion of a parcel of land and the establishment of a shantytown as a "step up" in life. They regard their shantytowns (or squatter settlements as they are variously called) as "towns in formation." A second finding is that the typical shantytown dweller is not as radical nor as alienated from the state as the popular view holds. In fact, his socio-economic and political views are basically conservative. The major conclusion of this study is that community development can serve as an effective organizational ideology around which to build political party support in the shantytown. However, it is not argued that community development linked political party activity is a total solution to the problem of the political integration of the urban shantytown dweller. Political party linked community development activity is merely put forth as one vehicle (perhaps among many) which could be effectively utilized to politically integrate the shantytown dweller.


Includes bibliographical references.


vi, 94 pages




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