American Value: Migrants, Money, and Meaning in El Salvador and the United States

El Salvador has transformed dramatically over the past half-century. Historically reliant on cash crops like coffee and cotton, the country emerged from a civil war in 1992 to find much of its national wealth coming from money sent home by a massive emigrant workforce in the United States.  In American Value, CCIS Research Associate David Pedersen examines this new way of life across two places: Intipucá in El Salvador and Washington, DC in the USA.  Drawing on Charles S. Peirce to craft a highly innovative semeiotic of value, he critically explains how the apparent worthiness of migrants and their money is shaping a transnational moral world with implications well beyond El Salvador and the USA.

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