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Title:Land, Labor and Power: Local Initiative and Land Reform in Huanoquite, Peru (Irrigation, Andes, Quechua)
Author(s):Seligmann, Linda Jane
Department / Program:Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Anthropology, Cultural
Abstract:Human relations to land over a fifteen year period, from the Revolutionary Government's passage of a comprehensive agrarian reform in 1969, to 1984, are examined in an Andean highland community of southern Peru. Structuralist-functionalist and dependency theories are eschewed in favor of an approach focusing upon the fate of local initiatives during this period among the inhabitants of Huanoquite, a Quechua- and Spanish-speaking village. Their efforts to formulate, elaborate and act upon their own visions and objectives alternately constrained and enabled them to transform national policies and their position of socio-economic dependency.
History and power become crucial resources in the ability of local-level collectivities to shape national policies in their own interests. History is regarded, not as a linear chronology which defines the past but as a repository of knowledge which inhabitants selectively mine to defend themselves. As such, it becomes a weapon also available to members of the dominant landed class who seek to assert and protect their claims to land, labor and power, especially when their formal authority becomes undermined. As a resource, history is embedded in territorial boundaries, myths, topographic and toponymic knowledge, agricultural-ritual calendars, colonial land titles, land tenure patterns and labor relations. The definition and defense of collective interests are as much conditioned by the weight of history, its interpretation and invocation, as by actual control over economic and political resources. Gaining local level political power means inhabitants must risk trampling upon others' rights and perceived rights.
Agrarian reform rarely eradicates the roots of inequality within nations with a long history of colonialism, dependency, and ethnic diversity and prejudice. It may, however, as in the case of Huanoquite, empower inhabitants in their struggle to gain a measure of local political power and autonomy. This thesis does not offer a predictive model of social change, particularly since any change may provoke unexpected contradictions and consequences. Rather, it portrays more accurately how communities of people participate in change and persist in establishing their own pathways into the future.
Issue Date:1987
Description:511 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1987.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8711873
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-17
Date Deposited:1987

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