Alternative action in Costa Rica: peasants as positive participants.
The paper considers organized, non-violent peasant protest, based on case studies of three Costa Rican villages. The study is based in Costa Rica because it exemplifies a more open political situation in which peasants are not restricted to violence or everyday resistance and can choose non-violent protest action. The villages comprise: San Luis, a coffee growing village in Alajuela; El Hogar, Limón, which grows basic grains; and La Lucha, a basic grains cultivating village in Limón formed by land invasions. It is argued that by resorting to non-violent protest, peasants can make a positive contribution to their societies and improve their own welfare. The study of non-violent protest is linked to existing theories and research on peasant violence and everyday resistance. Explanations for riot and rebellion given in the moral economy theory, and which underlie acts of everyday resistance, also help to account for collective, non-violent peasant political activity.