PRÓLOGO DEL LIBRO DEL ANTROPÓLOGO USA RICHARD N. ADAMS
A Community in the Andes: Problems and Progress in Muquiyauyo. RICHARD N. ADAMS. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1959. 265 pp., maps, figures, Reviewed by EDWARDW ELLINC, Columbia School of Public Health, New York.
Muquiyauyo, a town of somewhat over 2,000 inhabitants, situated at about 11,000 feet on the Mantaro River in Peru’s central highlands, is an exceptional case. Although its physical appearance and basic cultural profile do not differ strikingly from those of other communities in the same region, it is regarded by scholars and citizens in Peru as a uniquely “progressive” town and has been so reported by Castro Pozo and Tschopik, among others.
The criteria and products of its uniqueness include: an efficient power plant, schools which are among the best in highland Peru, a generalized community emphasis on literacy and education, innovations in local democratic government, a more extensive system than is usual in the region for cooperation in work-projects, a system of municipal loans, broad social planning, and a degree of economic soundness rarely encountered in Andean communities. Moreover, Muquiyauyo’s innovations trace primarily to internal processes and local agents of change, with external agencies serving mainly as sources of stimulus-diffusion.
The author has two research goals and a third goal related to method. The first research goal is to provide a description of a central Sierran community; the second is best left to the author’s words: “ . . . to show through the recent history of this community
How local history is directed through the presence of a few pressing unsolved problems, how each generation makes new attempts to solve these problems, and, inso doing, brings drastic cultural and social change into the community.” A parallel bibliography, index. $4.75.
Book Reviews 159
Goal is methodological-to rely primarily on local historical documents as sources of ethnographic data, with interviewing and observation of living subjects used only to supplement the prime method.
This combination of methodology and research goals produces mixed results. On the positive side, it provides time-dimensions of unusual depth and amplitude for discussions of land and population, political and administrative development, religious organization, social class structure, and outside influences.
However, the price paid for time-depth is relative superficiality of the treatment of present-day culture and society in Muquiyauyo. On balance, the description and analysis of the town’s uniqueness suffer as a result of the local-history method, and the method does not show to fair advantage in the face of the problem of ethnographic description.
The author candidly states (p. 215) that he does not know what has made the people of Muquiyauyo more ready than their neighbors to adopt ideas to which all were equally exposed. Although he advances several reasonable suppositions to account for Muquiyauyo’s flair for incorporating innovations, it is unfortunate that he apparently did not take the pedestrian but productive tack, while in the field, of asking Muquiyauyinos and residents of other towns to explain how and why Muquiyauyo was different.
The volume includes a useful ten-page glossary of pre-Spanish and Spanish terms and a bibliography and index. Unlike maps sometimes found in ethnographic works, those of the town, lands, and land types of Muquiyauyo are models of clear cartography.
An Eskimo Village in the Modern World. CHARLECS AMPBELHLU GHESW. ith the collaboration of JANE M. HUGHES(C. ornell Studies in Anthropology.) Ithaca, New York; Cornell University Press, 1960. xiv, 449 pp., appendix, bibliography, glossary,21 figures, index, 2 maps. $6.75.
Reviewed by JAMES VANSTONE, University of Toronto
The study of culture change through the descriptive analysis of small communities, a methodological approach which has characterized anthropological research during the last two decades, has only recently been used in the arctic area. Several community studies have been carried out in Alaska during the last five years and this excellent
study of the village of Gambell (Sivokak) on St. Lawrence Island is the first to appear in print. In fact, it is the first study of an Alaskan community to be published since Robert Marshall’s Arctic Village in 1933.
The author and his wife spent a year at Gambell during 1954-55 and they were fortunate to be able to draw on the field notes of Dr. Alexander Leighton who, together with his wife, spent the summer of 1940 in the same village. Hughes uses Leighton’s material as a base line for the study of culture change.
The first chapter, entitled "The Torn Grass," contains a brief description of the village in 1940, stressing the few but significant ways in which village life had been affected by contacts with the outside world. The author points out that the changes were, on the whole, “those of substitution and increase of content rather than configuration’’(p. 18) and the people were still living much as they had in the past. The research problem, then, was to determine the nature of the changes that had taken place since 1940 by means of an “examination of social and cultural facts, the evaluation of the directions and intensity of changes that had occurred, and, finally, an assessment of their implications” (p. 24).