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Title:Unreliable Drunkards or Honorable Citizens? Artisans in Search of Their Place in the Cusco Society (1825-1930)
Author(s):Kruggeler, Thomas
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Jacobsen, Nils
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):History, Latin American
Abstract:This dissertation traces the economic, social, and political history of artisans of the city of Cusco, Peru, from independence to the Great Depression. We stress the heterogeneous structure of provincial artisan sectors and reject the notion of an urban artisan class because a common social and political identity among craftsmen of different social strata did not exist.
Cusco artisans survived the economically difficult decades after independence by applying a variety of strategies. Artisan families used several sources of income, took advantage of low production costs and low costs of living, and had access to the agrarian sector to guarantee their subsistence. The patterns of economic behavior of a poor Indian artisan of the urban periphery were often similar to those of craftsmen of the middle strata of society who ran well-equipped workshops and employed several journeymen.
Since the 1830s provincial master craftsmen undertook considerable efforts to present themselves as honorable citizens and to cast off their reputation as unreliable drunkards they suffered since colonial times. Artisans used their skills, their position as workshop owners, their role as guild leaders and as local militia officials to improve their social standing. Particularly after 1870, when the first Artisan Society was founded, middle-class masters successfully presented artisans as a group of honorable men. The Society constructed an image of master artisans as patriotic and hard-working citizens, who would make any effort to liberate backyard craftsmen from ignorance and lift their moral. The expectation of masters of turning their workshops into small-scale industrial enterprises began to fade only in the early twentieth century, when they realized that artisans could not compete with the capital at the disposal of Cusco and Arequipa merchants who established the first local factories. Then the Society redefined its role and turned into the voice of the local working class. Masters skillfully managed to maintain their status as middle-class citizens and to represent artisans and workers of Cusco as self-proclaimed leaders at the same time. Only in the 1920s, when new labor organizations and the first communists appeared, conflicts between conservative and verbally radical artisans intensified.
Issue Date:1993
Description:364 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1993.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI9411676
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-17
Date Deposited:1993

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