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Voices from the Global Margin

Confronting Poverty and Inventing New Lives in the Andes

By William P. Mitchell

Publication Year: 2006

Voices from the Global Margin looks behind the generalities of debates about globalization to explore the personal impact of global forces on the Peruvian poor. In this highly readable ethnography, William Mitchell draws on the narratives of people he has known for forty years, offering deep insight into how they have coped with extreme poverty and rapid population growth—and their creation of new lives and customs in the process. In their own passionate words they describe their struggles to make ends meet, many abandoning rural homes for marginal wages in Lima and the United States. They chronicle their terror during the Shining Path guerrilla war and the government's violent military response. Mitchell's long experience as an anthropologist living with the people he writes about allows him to put the stories in context, helping readers understand the impact of the larger world on individuals and their communities. His book reckons up the human costs of the global economy, urging us to work toward a more just world.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xi

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Introduction. A PERSONAL AND INTELLECTUAL ODYSSEY

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pp. 1-6

“¡Su pasaporte, Señor!” It was 1965 and I had just landed in Lima, the capital of Peru, the first stop on my way to the Andes, where I was to live for two years among Quechua-speaking peasants to gather data for my doctorate in anthropology. Since then fierce economic and demographic forces have undermined the lives...

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ONE. Pablo and Claudia: PEASANT FARMING

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pp. 7-36

“Come back tomorrow!” I was stuck in Lima, unable to get my nonimmigrant resident visa even after three months of going to and from the Ministry of Foreign Relations. I was disheartened but spent my time improving my Spanish, associating primarily with non–English speakers in order to do so. “They want a bribe,”...

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TWO. Horacio and Benjamina: GENDER, RACE, ETHNICITY, AND CLASS

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pp. 37-59

“Teach me how to say ‘shit’ in English!” Always a joker, Horacio Gutiérrez and his wife, Benjamina Enríquez (women retain their maiden names after marriage), were among the first people I met in San Pedro, and their warm welcome on my first day is still vivid. Their lives illuminate many of the gender, racial, and class hierarchies...

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THREE. Horacio and Benjamina: CONFRONTING VILLAGE POVERTY

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pp. 60-75

In San Pedro ceramic figurines perch on roof peaks, like the chimney pots of English towns. Weathered by intense wind, rain, and sun, many of these small ceramic replicas of churches, deer, bulls, and tropical forest indigenes (chunchus) appear old, but San Pedrinos say they are recent...

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FOUR. Mart

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pp. 76-96

“Do you know any San Pedrinos who live along the coast?” I asked Valentina Rodríguez, a San Pedrina then living in Lima (see Chapter 5). “In Santa Anita and Punta Madera,” she said. “The Velarde family is in Punta Madera. My son Julio can take you.” I had just arrived in Lima in 1983; the Shining Path war was ravaging the sierra. Unable to...

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FIVE. Valentina: FROM BRIDE BY CAPTURE TO INTERNATIONAL MIGRANT

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pp. 97-122

“Comadre, you’re going to be in my book too. And so’s [your husband].” “Don’t make me laugh!” “What would you like me to call you?” “Valentina! Yes, Valentina. I don’t know why but the name just came to me. I like it. And you’ll change the name of my husband? Let’s call him Roberto.” I first met Valentina Rodríguez...

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SIX. Triga: GUERRILLA WAR, COCAINE, AND COMMERCE

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pp. 123-146

“Yankee imperialist!” The university student who attacked me on the street in Ayacucho City in 1967 was drunk and I was not injured. Nor did his attack reflect the way in which I was generally treated. I was never afraid for my safety, and although I usually avoided the heavily politicized university campus...

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SEVEN. El Comandante Tigre: THE PEASANT PATROLS AND WAR

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pp. 147-171

Mitchell, before we begin, my daughter and son aren’t baptized and I want to be your compadre.1 I was startled by this request as I entered the house of El Comandante Tigre, Commander Tiger, the head of San Pedro’s militia. Do you agree to it or not? Allinchu o manachu? Will you be their godfather? When can we do it? I hesitated briefly, then responded...

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EIGHT. Anastasio: FLEEING SHINING PATH

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pp. 172-201

“Miguel, do you know anyone I can interview in the puna?” “Sí, tío. Anastasio Huamán. He lives in Rumi Puquio.” In 1974 I employed Claudia Velarde’s grandson Miguel to take me around the district in order to study the way San Pedrinos utilized their diverse mountain environment. Leaving San Pedro, Miguel and I crossed the upper maize fields...

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NINE. At the Margin of the Shifting World

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pp. 202-220

In 1996, four years after the capture of most of the Shining Path leadership, I watched soldiers jog through the streets of Ayacucho City, chanting, “Terrorists, tonight we’re gonna enter your houses, eat your guts and suck your blood, rip off your heads, and tear out your eyes.” 1 The soldiers’ chant was a chilling remainder that Ayacucho is a Quechua word that means “corner...

Notes

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pp. 221-232

Glossary

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pp. 233-238

Bibliography

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pp. 239-254

Index

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pp. 255-268


E-ISBN-13: 9780292796140
E-ISBN-10: 0292796145
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292712690
Print-ISBN-10: 0292712693

Page Count: 280
Illustrations: 42 halftones
Publication Year: 2006

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Indians of South America -- Peru -- Economic conditions.
  • Indians of South America -- Peru -- Government relations.
  • Peasants -- Peru.
  • Sendero Luminoso (Guerrilla group).
  • Peru -- Politics and government -- 1980-.
  • Peru -- Social conditions.
  • Indians of South America -- Peru -- Social conditions.
  • Peru -- Economic conditions.
  • Poverty -- Peru.
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