Research 2010

Society for Applied Anthropology ( “Vulnerabilities and Exclusion in Globalization”
Mérida, México 70th Annual Meeting, March 24-27 2010

Invulnerabilidad y desglobalización:
Cultural resilience in health, agriculture, religion, fiestas and development in the Andes

An important finding in exploring responses to “globalization” among “vulnerable” societies is the strength of cultural continuity and resurgence of ancestral practices in the face of imposed models of “first world” progress. This collection of presentations provide Andean examples of how transnational interventions provoke actions that reinforce Quechua regional identity based on a shared cosmovisión of the inseparability of humans with their environment. Such responses contest neoliberal exigencies of the commoditization of natural resources, agroindustrialization, technocolonialization of thought through media and education, etc. Participants will interpret their exploratory field experiences with rural Quechua community members in attempts to understand and analyze alternative conceptualizations of life and society in the contemporary Andes. Key words: cultural continuity, field work, the Andes 

Session organizers 

Patricia J. Hammer (Center for Social Well Being)
Flor de María Barreto Tosi (Center for Social Well Being)
Discussant: Sydney Silverstein (University of Kansas)



  1. Clara Copp-LaRoque (Central Wyoming College) 

What Happens When Cows Come Home

Globalization is not a recent occurrence. The introduction of cattle to the Americas significantly changed the cultural and physical landscape of the continent. By looking at the effect of the introduction of cattle on the Andean peoples and terrain, perhaps we can apply historical lessons to today’s issues. My paper will address how the introduction of cattle in the Andes affected the social structure of the peoples living there, past and present.

  1. Leah Logan Cole (University of Colorado, Boulder)

International Development in Peru: An Anthropological Approach
In an increasingly globalized world, international aid projects transcend political and cultural boundaries, and are central to the interaction between nations of varying degrees of development. An anthropological perspective offers insight into what dictates the success or failure of these projects, and to what extent they are properly critiqued in a modern context. Based on field research in the Callejón de Huaylas and a post-colonial approach, this paper examines the potential of international development in Peru, and its impact on Quechua regional identity in the Andes.

  1. Elizabeth V. Powers (Central Michigan University)

Andean Beliefs and Globalized Religion

Drawing from participant observation in the Callejón de Huaylas, Perú, this paper examines the dynamic relationship between traditional Andean beliefs and Catholicism in order to explore how the Andean cosmovisión has been preserved despite the imposition of globalized religions. This paper discusses signs, rituals, and theology as components of an ongoing dialogue between traditional beliefs and Catholicism. By examining the interplay between traditional Andean beliefs and Catholicism, the paper suggests that there are multiple ways for a “vulnerable” group’s cultural heritage to be reinforced while coexisting with globalized religions. Key terms: Peru, Andean beliefs, Catholicism

  1. Marie McDonald (James Madison University)

Political Economy of Water in the Rural Peruvian Highlands: Cosmology of Labor and Livelihood

This paper analyzes the labor and power relations that exist in the rural Peruvian highlands to explain the relationship between the use and cosmology of land.  I will focus on issues of resource management, land management, and environmental restoration as they relate to water and irrigation, rights to water, and water rituals.  I will also examine the cultural beliefs that people have regarding water, land, and the way in which both are used.

  1. Mary Michelle Vigen (University of Minnesota – Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs)

Application of multi-disciplinary methods: Discovering New Development Models in Traditional Agricultural Communities in the Peruvian Andes

As globalization forces an ever more economic perspective of the world, the social sciences must work to maintain diversity in ways of knowing the world.  My study explores the application of methods from the fields of anthropology, economics, and public policy, to the problem of development policy in traditional agricultural communities.  My conclusions echo those of other prominent, but forgotten, development scholars, that a more local and qualitative understanding of well-being, assisted by anthropological field methods, is a necessary foundation for designing development policy that effectively mobilizes human capital to raise well-being without the price of cultural or ecological destruction.


  1. Patrick Lee (Yale University)

Johnny! Take the Trash Out: Local Conceptions of Garbage in the Andean Worldview

Increasing flows of goods around the world have resulted in an increase of garbage and waste that local communities must address. This paper explores how the Andean worldview guides local understandings of garbage and individuals’ sense of obligation to ‘deal’ with trash. Fieldwork experiences reveal that the theme of trash resonates with local narratives about cultural worth and a rhetoric of blame and ignorance that separates urban and rural worldviews. Finally, individuals’ conceptions of garbage also elicit tensions between the Andean worldview and a more Western take on the value and role of farming and agriculture-based lifestyles.

  1. Katherine Mullin (University of Colorado, Denver)

Fluidity of the Personal and the Professional: Exploration of Field Methods in Carhuaz, Peru 

Auto-ethnography examines power structures inherent to ethnography, while reflecting on the fluidity of the personal and professional in anthropological fieldwork. Digital narration is a self-reflexive tool that develops the practice of auto-ethnography. Where My Body Meets the Landscape integrates auto-ethnography and digital narration to analyze my fieldwork examination of healthcare practices in Carhuaz, Peru. This digital story reflects on the uncertainties of photography as a research method, and illuminates how my personal healthcare experiences in Carhuaz informed my fieldwork. This exploratory project examines the value of turning the camera’s lens inward to develop theoretical premises, promoting digital storytelling as a viable resource to rethink the personal-professional landscape of fieldwork.

  1. Valerie Mocker (Oxford University, UK)

“Atahualpa, shake the seeds!”

Traditional dance and music are a lot more than just art for art’s sake. This will be explored by the example of the Shaqsha dance practiced in the Callejón de Huaylas valley. It combines introduced Catholicism with a close link to the Inca past, and also includes wider aspects of the Andean cosmovisión into its costumes, instruments and concepts. Dance in the yearly fiestas thus ensures cultural continuity by reviving and transmitting memory of the past into the present, resulting in an ongoing definition of Quechua regional identity.

Keywords: shaqsha dance, Andean cosmovision, identity

  1. Johnny Casana (National Science Foundation)

Layers of Meaning and Resilience in the Andean Fiesta

Andean society displays a fiercely distinct cultural identity despite a staggering history of external influence. A key component to this cultural continuity is the fiesta—the yearly celebration of a local patron saint. The annual interpretation of a fiesta binds a community together in shared experience, but also illustrates many layers of religious and political influence, can mark important agricultural moments, and contributes to systems of material reciprocity. Drawing upon fieldwork in the Peruvian Cordillera Blanca, this paper will explore the diverse meanings of the fiesta tradition, and argue that it is a critical factor in Andean cultural resilience.

Posted on: September 22, 2017admin