Chapter

The Lower Classes Under the Oligarchic State

Susan C. Stokes

in Cultures in Conflict

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 1995 | ISBN: 9780520086173
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520916234 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520086173.003.0002
The Lower Classes Under the Oligarchic State

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This chapter explores the political life and culture of the popular sectors from the oligarchic state period of the 1930s through the late 1960s. It argues that, despite the rise in the early 1930s of political parties interested in promoting labor unionism and in mobilizing working-class voters, these parties had only a small impact on poor urban neighborhoods. Organizations in the neighborhoods and their leaders remained enmeshed, instead, in clientelist networks. Clientelism stressed face-to-face ties with government officials and leadership centralized in a small group among a broader population that only became mobilized for very limited purposes. Clientelism encouraged a political culture in which strains of deference and fatalism coexisted with upper-class affinity: a tendency for poor people to admire the values and lifestyles of the elite, and to see themselves as sharing these values and lifestyles.

Keywords: political life; Peru; labor unionism; working-class voters; poor urban neighborhoods; clientelism

Chapter.  5401 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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