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Peasant enterprise and processes of monetisation in highland Peru: the case of pucara

Arce, Alberto M. G. (1981) Peasant enterprise and processes of monetisation in highland Peru: the case of pucara. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The main theme of the thesis can be summarised as an attempt to explore some classical theoretical statementsabout the so-called 'progressive' character of commercial activities in the Highlands of Peru, and on the other hand,to examine certain methodological issues arising from earlier investigations in the area (see Arguedas, 1957; AlersMontalvo,1967; Adams, 1959; Long and Roberts, 1974, and 1978). In order to explore these two dimensions, the analysis concentrates upon determining the functions of small-scale commercial activities in a rural context, relating them to the existing agrarian structure, patterns of income distribution, consumption and diversification of economic activities at community level, and more systematically to processes of distribution and exchange at regional and national levels. The study focuses upon the role of rural, non-agricultural activities, a persisting feature of the Peruvian economy, which has provided the basis for the development of small-scale, economically dynamic entreprise that has, on the one hand impeded proletarianisation in the rural sector, and yeton the other, increased socio-economic differentiation. To understand this apparently contradictory dynamic, the nature of subordinated groups within the structure of underdevelopment is examined. It is argued that one must not consider such groups merely as a target for manipulation by capitalist interests, which has been the tendency of some writers from both the modernisation and dependency schools. Indeed, these subordinated groups (consisting in the rural sector of small-scale agriculturalists and traders etc.) have throughout much of the history of Peru has been placed outside the principal lines of development strategy adopted by the State and external interests. A sounder interpretation rests, I believe, upon a systematic analysis of the economic and social functions of small-scale enterprise, which, given the weakness of Peruvian capitalism, assumes a complementary dynamic which in certain important ways counterbalances the penetration of the capitalist mode of production The co-existence and inter-penetration of various capitalist and non-capitalist relations in Peruvian society gives a 'flexibility' to social and economic processes: it is this flexibility that is studied in depth through the analysis of small-scale commercial activities. The argument is developed using detailed field data concerning the village of Pucara in the Mantaro region, concentrating on the importance of cash income for the functioning of the household economy, the role of non-agricultural occupations, and the part played by kinship and interpersonal networks in the process of social reproduction of the household unit.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1981
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Jul 2013 10:54

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