Aspects of Group Relations in a Complex Society

Eric R. Wolf

in Pathways of Power

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780520223332
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520924871 | DOI:
Aspects of Group Relations in a Complex Society

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This chapter examines ways in which strategic social groups arrange and rearrange themselves historically along the main axes of American society, and situates the anthropological discussion in terms of Mexican material. National institutions seem so complex that even a small measure of competence in their operations seems to require full-time specialization. Mexico in its synchronic aspect is a web of group relationships with termini in both communities and national-level institutions, so in its diachronic aspect it is also more than a sum of the histories of these termini. This study deals with the relations of community-oriented and nation-oriented groups that characterize Mexico as a whole. It emphasizes the economic and political aspects of these relationships, their historical dimension, their present as a rearrangement of their past, and their past as a determinant of their present. Group relationships involve conflict and accommodation, integration and disintegration; processes that take place over time.

Keywords: Mexican material; group relationships; political aspects; social aspects; nation-oriented groups

Chapter.  6190 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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