Dana Sawchuk discusses the myth of Costa Rica as the Central American Switzerland and explores the reality of a nation struggling for social justice in the face of neo-liberal economic policies. Most people imagine Costa Rica to be a relatively prosperous, democratic, and peaceful nation and know nothing of its political turmoil or the Costa Rican Roman Catholic Church's activism in these struggles. Sawchuk will focus on the difficult working conditions on banana plantations and examine some ways Catholics use the Church's social teaching to support workers in their struggles for justice.
Dana Sawchuk, PhD
An Assistant Professor in Sociology at Wilfrid Laurier University, Dana Sawchuk is author of The Costa Rican Catholic Church, Social Justice, and the Rights of Workers, (2004). She spent a year volunteering in the public schools on a Costa Rican banana plantation, an experience that provided the motivation for her research on Latin American politics and society. Her current research concerns church programs designed to prevent clergy sexual misconduct. Another project looks at the Raging Grannies in southern Ontario. She is also the author of the Directory of World Faiths (2001), a guide to dealing with people of the world's religions in the workplace.