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CHAPTER IX The New Political Community INTRODUCTION VILLAGES which had restricted their peasants' market rela­ tions outside the immediate community or the local marketing area did so as an adaptation to the threats posed by the classes above. Political relationships with outsiders also were severely circumscribed. Payment of taxes, service in the lord's private army, acceptance of protection from the state against the en­ croachment of others were a few of the limited political inter­ changes between peasants and those in other classes. And even in many of these circumstances, the peasants usually dealt with outside institutions through the intermediary of the village leadership. The primary locus of politics for the peasants, the area within which they looked for commands and participated in decisions affecting their behavior, lay within the peasant com­ munity itself. It was there that disputes were settled, actions on behalf of the state were taken, and constraints and de­ mands on everyday behavior were imposed. Both the local lords and the peasant political organization exercised these functions. Although many of the contours of peasant behavior were determined by the power of outside lords, politicians, and administrators, peasants very often felt the weight of such power through the village leadershhip. The change from an inward- to an outward-orientation brought not only substantial social changes but also a crucial change in the dimensions and locus of the peasants' political POLITICS AND REVOLUTION world. A number of studies in recent years have examined some of the new political forms in rural areas that have re­ sulted from a changing political orientation by peasants. There has been aparticular interest inpeasant movements in theform of unions, syndicates, parties, etc.1 Political anthropologists have increased their research of some of the changes over time of the village government and its relation to district, state, and national political institutions.2 Some of this valuable material will be drawn upon, but the goal here is not to focus specifically on these new structures and relations. Instead the purpose of this chapter is to ana­ lyze the relationship between peasants' political participation and their degree of external relations. Specifically, it will ana­ lyze the effect of the problems stemming from increased out­ side relations on the dimensions of the peasants' political world and the nature of their political activity. A theory of the process of political change among peasants cannot be built 1 For some of the better examples of this work, see the essays in Henry A. Landsberger (ed.), Latin American Peasant Movements (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1969). Also, Peter P. Lord, The Peasantry as an Emerging Political Factor in Mexico, Bolivia, and Venezuela (Madison: The Land Tenure Center, University of Wisconsin, LTC no. 35, May 1965); John Duncan Powell, Political Mobilization of the Venezuelan Peasant (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971); and Susan C. Bourque, "Cholification and the Campesino: A Study of Three Peruvian Peasant Organizations in the Process of Societal Change," Latin American Studies Program, Dissertation Series, Cornell University (January 1971). An early at­ tempt to build a framework to analyze peasant movements is found in Henry A. Landsberger, "A Framework for the Study of Peasant Movements" (Ithaca, N.Y.: New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University, 1966). 2 Several interesting contributions for Guatemala are found in Richard N. Adams (ed.), Political Changes in Guatemalan Indian Communities: A Symposium (New Orleans: Middle American Re­ search Institute, Tulane University, 1957), Publication no. 24; and for India in Richard L. Park and Irene Tinker (eds.), Leadership and Political Institutions in India (Princeton, NJ.: Princeton University Press, 1959). THE NEW POLITICAL COMMUNITY simply on descriptions of the old and new political institutions and modes of participation.3 Instead, it must first be rooted in the dynamic social and economic changes associated with increased outside involvement. A theory must explain why institutions change and why the frequency, scope, and in­ tensity of participation differ from those of previous times. This chapter, then, focuses on two crucial questions about the process of peasant political change. First, what happened to the peasants' sense of political community (the dimensions of their political world) and to the nature of their political activity as outside relations expanded rapidly? The second question is one that has been largely ignored in the literature. What are the specific incentives and motivations for peasants to engage in new and different political relationships? THE CHANGE OF POLITICAL COMMUNITY: THE VILLAGE'S POLITICAL DECLINE One of the important results...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400868766
MARC Record
OCLC
933516043
Pages
310
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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