Anthropology 130, Dr. Logan Peasant Societies 4/22/10 2:04 PM Peasant Society: Remember, state-level societies are networks of different community types Economic and political in nature Individuals who live in the rural zones within a state are peasants Rural subsistence farmers incorporated into an economic and political network graded by the formation of a state Peasants produce most of their own basic food needs Yet, there are other items in their daily lives that they cannot produce and they must purchase Market Economies: Peasants secure such commodities as salt, sugar, cooking lard, coffee, tools, etc. Peasants represent at least 33% of the world?s population Being within the network of economic and political developments, they face taxation of material goods, imports/exports, and labor Corvee labor ? The state demands of a peasant that his/her labor is critically important to the statethey are not paid, because they ?owe? their labor to the state Road systems, irrigation canals, repair (land slides, etc.) Occurs in many parts of the world, including Latin America, Africa, Asia, etc. These rural people are faced with a very strenuous and precarious life Longevity ? Average for Ladinos (non-native/non-indigenous segment of the population) ? 70 Native Indian ? mid-40s Why such a difference? Access to medical care, resources, frequency of disease, and incredible barbaric treatment of indigenous peoples by state-level forces There is also a high infant mortality rate among peasants In urban, affluent, and highly developed cultures such as the United States, longevity is increased In Guatemala, 40% of the children born never reach the age of 5 Why? The Vicious Cycle (read further) Peasants are malnourished, which can lead to a host of deficiency diseases such as BeriBeri, Rickets, & Scurvy They are malnourished because there is not enough food There isn?t enough land to produce sufficient amounts of food for themselves Peasants are politically marginalized within a state, and typically they have been the target of very brutal political oppression, whereby political leaders take and control land 1% of the Brazilian population controls 50% of the arable land Much of the land is given over to the production of coffee and bananas, which are not subsistent crops 2% of the Guatemalan population controls 90% of the landpolitical power Vicious Cycle ? Deadly interplay between malnutrition and diarrheal complaint, which has to do with pathogens such as bacteria, ameba, viruses, and bacteria in the food and water What little food enters the body, it is quickly consumed by the bacteria. This further exacerbates the degree of severity of malnutrition When viruses such as Measles or Whooping Cough infect the individual, there is no way the person can survive without immunizations Peasants? participation within their state society is marginal Devaluation of a national currency is absolutely devastating in terms of its effects on peasants As the monetary value of currency decreases, prices of food such as rice and beans increases Peasants become ?trapped in the middle? Market Economies: Prices are not fixed but are negotiable There is not a middle agent (wholesale provider) Instead, the producers directly sell their products Ex. An American couple will ask the price of avocadoesthe vendor will say 10 cents eachthe tourists will ask for 5 cents each, and then the vendor will say 7 centsthe tourists agree, and then they pride themselves on what a ?great deal they got? The Indian vendor wanted 10 cents but got 7 cents?the value of 3 cents has an imminent impact on the vendor and his/her family Huipil = traditional blouse of a Mayan woman Will take a woman up to 6 months to make a huipil, and then it is sold at market The damning part: The tourists are staying at a luxury lodge for $125/night, order 5 martinis at $5/glass, and pay over $40 for dinner So?if you go to market and see something you want to buy, simply ask the price and pay that price If you can?t afford it, don?t buy it (instead of bargaining) State-level political control: Scissors Effect ? Term created to represent the two shears of scissors ?cutting? the peasant in the middle The shear that is rising is the price of foods and goods The shear that is dropping is the value of labor Back-breaking work can be the equivalent of $30/month What is happening as a result is that a huge number of peasants, once rural peoples, migrate to the cities in hopes of some better life They will do anything to survive in the city How well-equipped are they to live in an urban area such as in Brazil, Guatemala, or Mexico? They are not literate They are not skilled as welders, plumbers, etc. Thousands of women are drawn into prostitution because they are destitute Girls as young as 12 years old are forced into prostitution Many men and women go into the area of crime and steal anything they canthey become very skilled at theft Mexico & the early 1900s: Land was under the Haciendas System Haciendas = huge tracks of land, owned by a single family Within the territory of a given hacienda, there would be many different small villages of rural subsistent farmers (peasants) Peasant were required to pay tax based on labor because they did not own their own lands There was a vast disparity of millions of Mexicans without any land How did they meet their basic nutritional needs? Through the Tiendas (stores) on the Haciendas Sisal, beef, sugar, etc. Sisal = food that rural farmers didn?t have access todry-lobing plant with fiber that was made into rope Acasillados were sometimes relocated to the Yucatan and elsewhere in order to produce sisal90% of the peasants died within the first yearimmense depravation Acasillados ? peasants who lived on the Haciendas Ascendatos ? people who owned the Haciendas Entire Hacienda System was based on debt The Acasillados did not have enough money to purchase food, so they would fall into even more debt It got so bad that eventually the Acasillados didn?t even own their own clothes During the Spanish Revolution of 1919, the Haciendas were the first things to be destroyed Soldaderas ? Women associated with the Revolution Imminently skilled as spies and deception Many engaged in combat
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