Citizenship and Political Violence in Peru: An Andean Town, by Fiona Wilson (auth.)

By Fiona Wilson (auth.)

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The other category comprised rain-fed, hill-slope arable land under communal ownership and cultivation. Typically this land was farmed under a seven-year rotation, with plots distributed annually among community households. It produced the staple food crops of potatoes, ollucoss and ocass (Andean tubers), wheat, and barley. Registered in the colonial period as tierras de repartición n (repartition lands), this category of land had been claimed by the Crown which had then assigned it to Indian chiefs and their communities for the purpose of redistribution among tribute-paying Indian households (Thurner 1997: 21).

Over this, municipal and political authorities fought each other, both for control and for the moral high ground. While Tarma had been a small, unprepossessing town, labor service had been a fairly relaxed affair. Though rubbish collection was a daily obligation, other tasks could be dovetailed with the agrarian cycle. But flexibility was being curtailed in the 1880s on account of urban expansion and burst of construction activities required by a modernizing town. Soon this led to labor shortage.

We find that communities were willing to accept rituals of protection as a way to bolster their claims to land, livelihood, and citizenship, but they did their best to evade demands to send contingents of workers to town for labor service. I discuss in turn the actions taken by the Provincial Council with respect to community land and access to labor. Municipal Dominion Over Community Land Arable land in the valley heartland of Tarma fell into two categories. One was the productive, skillfully terraced, irrigated land, which THE PROVINCIAL COUNCIL IN AC TION 33 when fertilized could be cultivated all year round.

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