Date of Award

5-19-2013

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies

First Advisor

Maria Bruno

Second Advisor

Marcelo Borges

Language

English

Abstract

As markets are growing and borders are shrinking, the different corners of the world are becoming increasingly in contact with one another. But what is the nature of the interactions that result? For this thesis, I examine these dynamics in the case study of one community in particular: Coporaque, Peru. I spent time in 2011 and 2013 conducting fieldwork in this rural agricultural Andean community to study how the agricultural sphere is shifting in response to new opportunities to participate in the larger regional and national markets. I preface my analysis of contemporary agriculture in Coporaque with an analysis of two contexts in particular: First, I evaluate the theoretical debate surrounding the results of these unprecedented interactions, signaling that the model of the hybridization of local and external practices is more applicable than one that alludes to an inevitable homogenization. Second, I explore the broader history of agricultural change in the Peruvian Andes, focusing particularly on the roots of the economic structures that can be observed today in Coporaque. Together, these different perspectives reveal that the economic expansion of a community is not an isolated phenomenon, rather a dynamic one rooted in interactions with external influences and one that can have an impact on the character of local social relations. This offers a critical lens through which I then examine my own fieldwork in Coporaque to determine under what historical and cultural conditions a hybridization emerges that can benefit the local economy. Ultimately, I demonstrate that community members in Coporaque are adept at establishing a balance between incorporation and maintenance—they are capable of first selecting which new techniques will be beneficial and then skillfully blending them into a unique set of agricultural practices. Thus, successful economic expansion comes from initiatives that respect their agency and include the local community members in the process.