Between the 1870s, when the great influx of European immigrants began, and the start of World War I, Argentina underwent a radical alteration of its social composition and patterns of economic productivity. Mark Szuchman, in this groundbreaking study, examines the occupational, residential, educational, and economic patterns of mobility of some four thousand men, women, and children who resided in Córdoba, Argentina's most important interior city, during this changeful era.
Through several kinds of samples, Szuchman provides a widely encompassing social picture of Córdoba, describing, among others, the unskilled laborer, the immigrant bachelor in search of roots and identity, the merchant seeking or giving credit, and the member of the elite, blind to some of the realities around him. The challenge that the pursuit of security entailed for most people and the failure of so many to persist successfully form a large part of that picture.
The author has made ample use of quantitative techniques, but secondary materials are also utilized to provide social perspectives that round out and humanize the quantitative data. The use of record linkage as the essential research method makes this work the first book on Argentina to follow similar and very successful research methodologies employed by U.S. historians.