The Vicissitudes of the Closed Corporate Peasant Community

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:
The Vicissitudes of the Closed Corporate Peasant Community

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  • Theory and Practice of Anthropology


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This chapter aims to reexamine some efforts at anthropological generalizations now more than a quarter of a century old. It provides answers to three interrelated concerns: to understand the organizational framework of communities as outcomes and determinants of historical processes; to visualize these processes as intimately connected with changes in the wider economic and political field; and to understand cultural structures as growing out of these involvements over time rather than in terms of culture content. Anthropologists have increasingly been tempted to divorce social behavior from culturally encoded symbolic forms, rather than to inquire into the ongoing dialectical interpenetration of these two realms. The study strives to comprehend local and parochial relationships in terms of wider unfolding economic and political processes while trying to grasp how human beings in closed corporate communities responded to these processes through culturally informed action and action-involved cultural forms.

Keywords: social behavior; parochial relationships; closed corporate communities; dialectical interpenetration; organizational framework

Chapter.  2435 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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