Vicos and Beyond

Vicos and Beyond : A Half Century of Applying Anthropology in Peru

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In 1952, Professor Allan Holmberg arranged for Cornell University to lease the Hacienda Vicos, an agricultural estate in the central Peruvian highlands on which some 1800 Quechua-speaking highland peasants resided. Between 1952 and 1957 Holmberg, with colleagues and students, initiated a set of social, economic, and agrarian changes, and nurtured mechanisms for community-based management of the estate by the resident peasants. By the end of a second lease in 1962, sufficient political pressure had been brought to bear on a reluctant national government to force the sale of Vicos to its people. Holmberg's twin goals for the Vicos Project were to bring about community possession of their land base and to study the process as it unfolded, advancing anthropological understanding of cultural change. To describe the process of doing both, he invented the term 'participant intervention.' Despite the large corpus of existing Vicos publications, this book contains much information that here reaches print for the first time. The chapter authors do not entirely agree on various key points regarding the nature of the Vicos Project, the intentions of project personnel and community actors, and what interpretive framework is most valid; in part, these disagreements reflect the relevance and importance of the Vicos Project to contemporary applied anthropologists and the contrasting ways in which any historical event can be explained. Some chapters contrast Vicos with other projects in the southern Andean highlands; others examine new developments at Vicos itself. The conclusion suggests how those changes should be understood, within Andean anthropology and within anthropology more generally.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 358 pages
  • 152 x 229mm
  • AltaMira Press,U.S.
  • California, United States
  • 0759119759
  • 9780759119758

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Author Information

Tom Greaves is emeritus professor of anthropology at Bucknell University. Ralph Bolton is professor of anthropology at Pomona College. Florencia Zapata is Cultural Heritage Program Officer at The Mountain Institute.

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Review quote

Full of pros, cons, and new informative details, these insiders' essays offer fresh perspectives on Cornell's audacious social experiment. -- Dwight B. Heath Considered a groundbreaking example of applied anthropology, the Cornell-Peru Project (CPP, 1952-62) is now mostly forgotten. Editors Greaves (emer., Bucknell Univ.), Bolton (Pomona College), and Zapata (The Mountain Institute) have assembled a volume that is part detailed history by surviving members of the project and part evaluation of it by anthropologists who were not part of it. Chapters by researchers describing similar projects and by anthropologists discussing the current state of Vicos round out the book. No consensus emerges as to the CPP's success or failure, but each contribution provides an important perspective on the project, the role of applied anthropology then and now, and the changes in Peruvian society since the 1950s. Graduate students and researchers interested in the relationship between anthropology and development, or the history of the discipline in Latin America, will find the book useful. Undergraduates will find the specificity of the contributions daunting, but those by Jason Pribilsky, Bolton, and Zapata discussing, respectively, anthropology in the era of Cold War politics, the continued relevance of applied anthropology, and a specific case of a cultural heritage program provide treatments accessible to advanced undergraduates. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty. CHOICE

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