Brooke Larson, Olivia Harris, eds. Ethnicity, Markets and Migration in the Andes: At the Crossroads of History and Anthropology. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1995. viii + 428 pp. $25.95 (paper), ISBN 978-0-8223-1647-3; $94.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8223-1633-6.
Reviewed by Robert Jackson (SUNY College at Oneonta)
Published on H-LatAm (April, 1996)
Originally published in Bolivia with a larger collection of essays, this edited volume addresses a very important topic: the involvement of indigenous peoples in the southern Andes (southern Peru and Bolivia) and European-introduced market economies. Essays in the volume range from pre-hispanc topics to current anthropological studies. This volume contains the following essays:
1. Brooke Larson, "Andean Communities, Political Cultures, and Markets: The Changing Contours of a Field"
2. John Murra, "Did Tribute and Markets Prevail before the European Invasion?"
3. Steve Stern, "The Variety and Ambiguity of Native American Intervention in European Colonial Markets"
4. Carlos Sempat Assadourian, "Exchange in the Ethnic Territories Between 1550 and 1567: The Visitas of Huanuco and Chucuito"
5. Susan Ramirez, "Exchange and Markets in the Sixteenth Century: A View from the North"
6. Thierry Saignes, "Indian Migration and Social Change in Seventeenth-Century Charcas"
7. Enrique Tandeter, et al., "Indians in Late Colonial Markets: Sources and Numbers"
8. Brooke Larson and Rosario Leon, "Markets, Power, and Politics of Exchange in Tapacari, c. 1780 and 1980"
9. Tristan Platt, "Ethnic Calendars and Market Interventions among the Ayllus of Lipes During the Nineteenth Century"
10. Olivia Harris, "The Sources and Meanings of Money: Beyond the Market Paradigm in an Ayllu of Northern Potosi"
11. Marisol de la Cadena, "Women are More Indian: Ethnicity and Gender in a Community Near Cuzco"
12. Olivia Harris, "Ethnic Identity and Market Relations: Indians and Mestizos in the Andes"
As with any essay collection, the contributions to this volume are uneven in quality and take different methodological approaches. There are several major themes that include the nature of pre-Hispanc exchanges and the early intervention of indigenous peoples in evolving European markets; migrations within the Andes, and the involvement in different ways of Indians in markets at the end of the colonial period, in the nineteenth century, and today. The central theme is well developed in the book and is of major concern for specialists in Latin American history. In terms of historiographic context, the contributors to this volume clearly show that indigenous peoples were able to choose the ways in which they entered the European market economy and they reject an older vision of indigenous peasants as passive actors. Although focusing on the southern Andes, the essays in this volume have implications for all students of Latin American rural history.
Several essays in particular highlight the complexities of indigenous participation in market economies. In a stimulating theoretical essay, Steve Stern offers different perspectives for understanding indigenous involvements in markets. Stern also calls for more studies that compare the Andean region with other parts of Latin America, Africa, or Asia (88-89). Curiously, though, one recent comparative article that deals with a topic addressed in the volume-mestizaje- (Olivia Harris's essay on Indians and Mestizos) does not appear in the bibliography.(1) Susan Ramirez offers a well-written analysis of the emergence of markets in northern Peru. Tristan Platt's essay explains the economy of the Lipes ayllus in southwestern Bolivia in the nineteenth century and how the ayllu members fit a mixed economy based on the supply of salt to local silver mines, trade, and the transporting of goods into the semi-annual tribute calendar. The essay by the late Thierry Saignes points to the importance of internal migration. Finally the contributions of Olivia Harris and Marisol de la Cadena document current issues related to Indians and markets.
This book reflects a somewhat updated state of the field in the early 1980s when most of the essays were written. Although strong on the social aspects of indigenous involvements in markets, there are also some significant gaps that are not addressed. For example, there is no discussion of Indians as laborers on haciendas, Indian-hacienda competition for land and water, or the evolution of land markets and indigenous participation in land markets. Thousands of Indians labored on haciendas as either permanent or seasonal workers, as service tenants, day laborers, or share-croppers/ tenants. Conflicts over land and water resources help, among other things, to document power relationships and the functioning of royal and later republican Indian policies. Indian involvement in land markets, particularly in the nineteenth century, at times defined conventional stereotypes of indigenous behavior. For example, there are cases of ayllus or individual ayllu members buying non-Indian lands to supplement their land base. Although liberalism in the nineteenth century is mentioned by several authors, there is little discussion of how liberal policies modified local and regional markets and Indian involvement in those markets. Recent studies, some not included in the bibliography or Larson's introductory essay, address these important issues (2).
The book has a decided bias towards the colonial period which might have been addressed by including several more essays on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. An essay on changing government policies vis a vis the indigenous populations of Peru and Bolivia would also have been useful. There is a tendency to ignore both the intent and implementation of laws designed to regulate relations between the government and Indians, and Indians and non-Indians. For example, a discussion of Bolivian community land policy, especially Melgarejo's efforts to sell community lands in the 1860s and the 1874 law of ex-vinculacion, would help explain changing Indian responses to markets during that period. Finally, I was a bit disappointed that a number of essays from the 1987 Spanish language version of the book were not included in this edition. They would have provided a bit more balance. In particular I am thinking of Erick Langer's essay on Indian involvement in the grain market, an issue not addressed in any of the essays in this edition, Ann Zulowski on mine labor in Oruro, and Lillian Lewinski's essay on the Oruro market at the end of the colonial period.
On balance, this book is worth reading as an introduction to the study of indigenous involvement in market economies in one Latin American region. It contains insights and methodological approaches that could be applied to the study of rural history in other Latin American regions. It is suitable for use by graduate students and advanced undergraduates, and in paperback at a fairly reasonable price so that it could be used for classes. The bibliography and introductory and concluding essays provide a good beginning for students and specialists wanting to learn more about the history of the Andean region, although they are incomplete for the literature published after 1987. The maps are well done and add to the essays.
1. Robert Jackson and Gregory Maddox, "The Creation of Identity: Colonial Society in Bolivia and Tanzania," Comparative Studies in Society and History 35:2 (1993), 263-284.
2. See, for example, Robert H. Jackson, "Evolucion y persistencia del colonaje en las haciendas de Cochabamba," Siglo XlX 3:6 (1988), 145-162; Erick Langer and Robert H. Jackson, "El liberalismo y el problema de la tierra en Bolivia (1825-1920)," Siglo XlX 5:10 (1990), 9-32; Robert H. Jackson, Regional Markets and Agrarian Transformation in Bolivia: Cochabamba, 1539-1960. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994.
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Robert Jackson. Review of Larson, Brooke; Harris, Olivia, eds., Ethnicity, Markets and Migration in the Andes: At the Crossroads of History and Anthropology.
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