Peasant Society

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Information about Peasant Society

Published on November 30, 2008

Author: PaulVMcDowell

Source: slideshare.net

Description

Defines peasantry and provides an overview of their features.

Peasant Society Maya Culture Area and China

Defining Peasants Kroeber in a 800-page tome Anthropology allows a part sentence to define peasant as “part societies with part cultures” This indicates that peasant societies are part of a large society It is part of an empire, or a nation state Anthropologists have long debated just what it is a part of

Kroeber in a 800-page tome Anthropology allows a part sentence to define peasant as “part societies with part cultures”

This indicates that peasant societies are part of a large society

It is part of an empire, or a nation state

Anthropologists have long debated just what it is a part of

Defining Peasants: Wolf’s Fund Metaphor The funding metaphor Primitive Cultivators and Peasants both must meet a Caloric fund (food, other necessities) Replacement fund (seeds, house repair) Ceremonial fund (life change, solidarity) Peasants Subject to domain of state Rent fund (taxes, tribute, forced labor)

The funding metaphor

Primitive Cultivators and Peasants both must meet a

Caloric fund (food, other necessities)

Replacement fund (seeds, house repair)

Ceremonial fund (life change, solidarity)

Peasants

Subject to domain of state

Rent fund (taxes, tribute, forced labor)

Peasants and Primitive Cultivators: Caloric Fund Both peasants and primitive cultivators must provide for a caloric fund Both have to provide enough to sustain a living according to local definition of what constitutes a livelihood. His emphasis is on an agrarian population Contrast: Raymond Firth would define Tikopian (south Pacific islanders) fisherman as peasants.

Both peasants and primitive cultivators must provide for a caloric fund

Both have to provide enough to sustain a living according to local definition of what constitutes a livelihood.

His emphasis is on an agrarian population

Contrast: Raymond Firth would define Tikopian (south Pacific islanders) fisherman as peasants.

Peasants and Primitive Cultivators: Replacement Fund Both peasants and primitive cultivators must provide for next year’s crop Generally, that means saving the seeds of the best crop for next year By extension, replacement fund involves repairing shelter, replacing a broken pot, or attending to the birth of a calf Therefore, it has to be regarded as a metaphor

Both peasants and primitive cultivators must provide for next year’s crop

Generally, that means saving the seeds of the best crop for next year

By extension, replacement fund involves repairing shelter, replacing a broken pot, or attending to the birth of a calf

Therefore, it has to be regarded as a metaphor

Peasants and Primitive Cultivators: Ceremonial Fund Every society has a ceremonial fund There are rites of passage in most societies, weddings among almost all, and funerals There may be other ceremonial festivals: religious festivals in Mesoamerica, first fruits ceremonies in spring of every year These promote the solidarity of a community

Every society has a ceremonial fund

There are rites of passage in most societies, weddings among almost all, and funerals

There may be other ceremonial festivals: religious festivals in Mesoamerica, first fruits ceremonies in spring of every year

These promote the solidarity of a community

Peasants: Provision of a Fund of Rent Peasants are subject to the domain of a state This connection eliminate the autonomy that primitive cultivators enjoy This domain obliges the peasant to provide for a fund of rent that primitive cultivators need not provide for Examples: forced labor, tribute in kind, taxes in money Peasant still own property, which proletarians (day laborer) do not have

Peasants are subject to the domain of a state

This connection eliminate the autonomy that primitive cultivators enjoy

This domain obliges the peasant to provide for a fund of rent that primitive cultivators need not provide for

Examples: forced labor, tribute in kind, taxes in money

Peasant still own property, which proletarians (day laborer) do not have

Cultural Definitions: Robert Redfield Redfield and his followers defined peasantry in two terms One is the Great Tradition versus the Little Tradition, in which the latter imitates the former The second is the Folk-Urban Continuum, in which placement on the continuum depends on the extent of acculturation of rural communities to urban features

Redfield and his followers defined peasantry in two terms

One is the Great Tradition versus the Little Tradition, in which the latter imitates the former

The second is the Folk-Urban Continuum, in which placement on the continuum depends on the extent of acculturation of rural communities to urban features

Great Tradition and Little Tradition “ Tradition” implies a longstanding existence of both entities and their longstanding relations The culture of the rural community is a rough expression of the urban, or “great” tradition Examples: religious beliefs—Balinese have a rough imitation of Hindu beliefs For example, rebirth implies that the ancesfors will return to the local villages Local government is a rough imitation of the national Even local dress is a rough imigation of the national, as shown by this Mayan man in an outfit that recalls a 16 th century Spanish soldier’s uniform or this woman’s imitation of a Spanish lady’s dress style

“ Tradition” implies a longstanding existence of both entities and their longstanding relations

The culture of the rural community is a rough expression of the urban, or “great” tradition

Examples: religious beliefs—Balinese have a rough imitation of Hindu beliefs

For example, rebirth implies that the ancesfors will return to the local villages

Local government is a rough imitation of the national

Even local dress is a rough imigation of the national, as shown by this Mayan man in an outfit that recalls a 16 th century Spanish soldier’s uniform or this woman’s imitation of a Spanish lady’s dress style

Folk-Urban Continuum Redfield ordered four Yucatecan communities along a continuum Urban: Merida, the capital of Yucatan Town: Dzitas, a small community with many attributes of a city Village: Chan Kom, “a village that chose progress Tusik, a hamlet in the territory of Quintana Roo

Redfield ordered four Yucatecan communities along a continuum

Urban: Merida, the capital of Yucatan

Town: Dzitas, a small community with many attributes of a city

Village: Chan Kom, “a village that chose progress

Tusik, a hamlet in the territory of Quintana Roo

Points on the Folk-Urban Continuum Merida has universities, a market center, connections with the national economy, and is the capital Dzitas had a high school and other urban amenities, such as markets and electricity, but many folk beliefs as well Chan Kom was a relatively isolated community, an elementary school, and some of the other aspects of urban life, but no electricity as yet Tusik was the opposite end of the continuum, with few if any amenities and relying entirely on subsistence cultivation.

Merida has universities, a market center, connections with the national economy, and is the capital

Dzitas had a high school and other urban amenities, such as markets and electricity, but many folk beliefs as well

Chan Kom was a relatively isolated community, an elementary school, and some of the other aspects of urban life, but no electricity as yet

Tusik was the opposite end of the continuum, with few if any amenities and relying entirely on subsistence cultivation.

Critique of Redfieldian Models Redfieldian assumption: functionalism, in which all aspect contribute to a harmonious whole All communities are tied to the larger economy in some way Peasant communities are not necessarily homogeneous; often division occurs within them This was the debate between Redfield and Oscar Lewis about Tepoztlan in Central Mexico To Redfield, Tepoztlan was an isolated, relatively harmonious village To Lewis, the community was a divided, conflict ridden community with antagonisms going back to the Mexican revolution and tensions between the caciques (“chiefs”) and the peasants.

Redfieldian assumption: functionalism, in which all aspect contribute to a harmonious whole

All communities are tied to the larger economy in some way

Peasant communities are not necessarily homogeneous; often division occurs within them

This was the debate between Redfield and Oscar Lewis about Tepoztlan in Central Mexico

To Redfield, Tepoztlan was an isolated, relatively harmonious village

To Lewis, the community was a divided, conflict ridden community with antagonisms going back to the Mexican revolution and tensions between the caciques (“chiefs”) and the peasants.

Models of Peasant Societies: Image of Limited Good Image of Limited Good: the perception that all things useful exists in fixed amounts Zero-sum game: if you use an asset for some purpose, that asset will not be available for others Development programs: this perception renders any promise of increased wealth dubious to the peasant Example: peasants from Tzintzuntzan in Michoacan, Mexico, were reluctant to join a pottery marketing cooperative Reasoning: how could peasants hope to generate more revenue from sales in Guadalajara or Mexico City without a shrinking market elsewhere That would also mean withdrawing from the local market

Image of Limited Good: the perception that all things useful exists in fixed amounts

Zero-sum game: if you use an asset for some purpose, that asset will not be available for others

Development programs: this perception renders any promise of increased wealth dubious to the peasant

Example: peasants from Tzintzuntzan in Michoacan, Mexico, were reluctant to join a pottery marketing cooperative

Reasoning: how could peasants hope to generate more revenue from sales in Guadalajara or Mexico City without a shrinking market elsewhere

That would also mean withdrawing from the local market

Models of Peasant Society: The Dyadic Contract In Tzintzuntzan, peasants make deals only on a dyadic basis If you make a deal with another man, it does not involves your wife or brother If the deal turns sour, you can withdraw. Again there was reluctance to join a cooperative that involves a manystranded relationship Withdrawal is costly if the cooperative fails or someone absconds with the funds

In Tzintzuntzan, peasants make deals only on a dyadic basis

If you make a deal with another man, it does not involves your wife or brother

If the deal turns sour, you can withdraw.

Again there was reluctance to join a cooperative that involves a manystranded relationship

Withdrawal is costly if the cooperative fails or someone absconds with the funds

Typology of Peasantry: Patron-Client Relations Peasants with a feudal patron have one set of obligations It involves dependence on the lord, or master, or the patron Markets are limited and the patron holds a monopoly Patron-client relations involve goods and services from the client in return for special favors of the patron Relations between haciendas and peasants in Mesoamerica before independence are one example Peasant-warlord relations in China during feudal times are another

Peasants with a feudal patron have one set of obligations

It involves dependence on the lord, or master, or the patron

Markets are limited and the patron holds a monopoly

Patron-client relations involve goods and services from the client in return for special favors of the patron

Relations between haciendas and peasants in Mesoamerica before independence are one example

Peasant-warlord relations in China during feudal times are another

Typology of Peasantry: Market Relations Markets allow peasants direct access to goods, services, and jobs through the market place or market mechanism Some involve regional markets, where peasants have direct access to marketers from other communities on an equal basis Advantage of market: larger numbers of buyers and sellers can take part and access more goods than through a personalistic system such as patrons and clients.

Markets allow peasants direct access to goods, services, and jobs through the market place or market mechanism

Some involve regional markets, where peasants have direct access to marketers from other communities on an equal basis

Advantage of market: larger numbers of buyers and sellers can take part and access more goods than through a personalistic system such as patrons and clients.

Typology of Peasantry: Vertical Market Relations Central places emerge to enable peasant access to manufactured products otherwise not accessible This involves the use of currency, which governments issue It saves bartering, or seeking one buyer after another to exchange your products It also establishes control for the centralized authority to collect taxes and regulate the market The state is also freed from administered trade, which can be a logistical nightmare with a large population and a large number of transactions.

Central places emerge to enable peasant access to manufactured products otherwise not accessible

This involves the use of currency, which governments issue

It saves bartering, or seeking one buyer after another to exchange your products

It also establishes control for the centralized authority to collect taxes and regulate the market

The state is also freed from administered trade, which can be a logistical nightmare with a large population and a large number of transactions.

The Case Studies We examine two cultures The first one is the Mayan culture area, which includes Mayan peasants from Spanish colonization to the present We look at the role of corporate communities and their hostile symbiotic relations with the hacienda, or landed estate The second case is the Chinese village of Taitou They relied on a system reliant on market towns Both communities exemplify reinterpretations of religion in terms of local beliefs.

We examine two cultures

The first one is the Mayan culture area, which includes Mayan peasants from Spanish colonization to the present

We look at the role of corporate communities and their hostile symbiotic relations with the hacienda, or landed estate

The second case is the Chinese village of Taitou

They relied on a system reliant on market towns

Both communities exemplify reinterpretations of religion in terms of local beliefs.

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