Racial Spoils from Native Soils

Racial Spoils from Native Soils : How Neoliberalism Steals Indigenous Lands in Highland Peru

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This book explains how one man swindled his Andean village twice. The first time he extorted everyone's wealth and disappeared, leaving the village in shambles. The village slowly recovered through the unlikely means of converting to Evangelical religions, and therein reestablished trust and the ability to work together. The new religion also kept villagers from exacting violent revenge when this man returned six years later. While hated and mistrusted, this same man again succeeded in cheating the villagers. Only this time it was for their lands, the core resource on which they depended for their existence. This is not a story about hapless isolation or cruel individuals. Rather, this is a story about racism, about the normal operation of society that continuously results in indigenous peoples' impoverishment and dependency. This book explains how the institutions created for the purpose of exploiting Indians during colonialism have been continuously revitalized over the centuries despite innovative indigenous resistance and epochal changes, such as the end of the colonial era itself. The ethnographic case of the Andean village first shows how this institutional set up works through-rather than despite-the inflow of development monies. It then details how the turn to advanced capitalism-neoliberalism-intensifies this racialized system, thereby enabling the seizure of native lands.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 168 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 17.78mm | 385.55g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 1 black & white illustrations, 10 colour illustrations
  • 0739191373
  • 9780739191378

About Arthur Scarritt

Arthur Scarritt is associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Boise State University.show more

Review quote

Sociologist Scarritt asks how a small minority population of European descent manages to continue to dominate a larger and antagonistic native population...Scarritt defines neoliberalism as a colonial question, or what has also been termed the 'Indian Problem,' in which those who own the means of production maintain a subordinate population in a marginalized and exploited situation. The study's usefulness is in its ethnography of how capitalism has underdeveloped one specific community, in this case, the village of Huaytabamba in the Peruvian highlands. Specifically, Scarritt examines how intermediaries play their position as brokers between a marginalized community and the dominant culture to their own advantage. This case study appears to document a depressing failure in which the community is never able to escape these exploitative relationships. Perhaps the abusive political and economic structures are larger than what a single community can undo on its own. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, faculty. CHOICE Scarritt does an excellent job illuminating how colonial logics and acts assert themselves in the neoliberal period. The question of how a small number of colonizers dominate such a large population of indigenous people is effectively answered. Historically, relations of colonial domination have been secured by intermediaries through indirect rule, reproducing racial hierarchies and benefiting from their broker position. Overall, Scarritt contributes a deep conceptual analysis and rich ethnographic detail about how internal (indirect rule) and external (neocolonial) oppressions continue to subordinate indigenous communities. Contemporary Sociology In this concise and accessible book, Arthur Scarritt analyzes the role of racism in the neoliberal development of a pseudonymous village, Huaytabamba, near the city of Ayacucho in Peru... As a valuable contribution to the disciplines of Sociology and Latin American Studies, this book should particularly interest scholars of indigenous social movements and race/racism in Latin America, as well as those who research Latin American political economy. Ethnic and Racial Studies Though there is broad agreement that colonial legacies are all too alive and well in Latin America, there are few works as meticulous and detailed as Scarritt's in describing the mechanisms that racialize political economies and reproduce those legacies - particularly the way in which they take root in Native community disputes and interact with other "outside" forces. The book is an impressive work of political ethnography that engages with a staggering number of theorists (of coloniality, development, and Indigenous politics) and is in thoughtful dialogue with Andeanists from various disciplines and community members of Huaytabamba. -- Jose Antonio Lucero, University of Washington This study of a rural community in Peru asks provocative questions about racism and neoliberal capitalism and confronts these phenomena head-on. Weaving ethnographic with historical evidence, Scarritt makes a case for the persistence of racism in Peru as well as its entanglements with global capitalism. This analysis of the Peruvian racialized social system will be useful material for scholars of racial dynamics in Peru and beyond. -- Tanya Golash-Boza, University of California, Merced In Racial Spoils from Native Spoils, Arthur Scarritt delivers a dramatic story about race, dispossession and neoliberalism in highland Peru. Through deft storytelling, Scarritt transports readers to the small Andean village of Huaytabamba, where centuries of racism and exploitation have taken their toll on indigenous villagers. Relatively useless to advanced capitalism, save for the land on which they eke out a meager existence, these villagers become embroiled in a protracted struggle to retain communal rights to their land. In this privatization battle, they lose. To explain how, Scarritt provides strong theoretical scaffolding, illustrating how the racial dynamics that are rooted in Peru's colonial history are refurbished under neoliberalism. Those interested in the workings of global capitalism will find much to ponder in this book, which highlights the crucial role that race plays in neoliberal economies and rentier capitalism. There is also much to satisfy those studying the state, which is pivotal in (re)making racial divides in Peru through various forms of racialized indirect rule. But the most compelling aspect of this book is Scarritt's remarkable ability to tell a good story - and a dramatic one at that. In it is a full cast of amazing characters - Damian, the mestizo intermediary who brokers development dollars while robbing villagers of money and land; Pedro, the uneducated but dedicated evangelical leader who struggles to hold the community together under threat of privatization; even Scarritt himself, the inquisitive ethnographer who villagers called pala chaki (shovel foot, for his towering height) and who becomes embroiled in village politics. Ultimately, this is a story about an indigenous group that is robbed of communal property and political voice in an era that bears frightening resemblance to an earlier period of colonial domination. Though the story doesn't end well, it is told in superb detail by a sociologist who knows a thing or two about race in highland Peru. -- Susan Mannon, University of the Pacificshow more

Table of contents

1. Introduction: How Does Racism Impoverish Indigenous People? 2. Historical Arc: Centuries/Sentries of Contested Racism 3. Exploiting through the Guise of Helping 4. Evangelical Ethnic Revitalization 5. Racially Reinventing Privatization 6. The Privatization Battle 7. The Localities and Globalities of Racismshow more

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