This book is about patterns of social behavior in Indian peasant communities of central and southern Mexico after the severe hazards of the sixteenth century had passed, leaving the pressures of a mature colonial system on the lives of an expanding population. Without attempting to force connections among peasant norms, behavior, and circumstances, I am interested in what colonial peasants believed and said about themselves, what they actually did and said in specific situations, and what their relations were to the powerful outsiders whose presence defined their position as peasants.
Five historians uncover the ties between people's daily routines and the all-encompassing framework of their lives. They trace the processes of social construction in Western Europe, the United States, Latin America, Africa, and China, discussing both the historical similarities and the ways in which individual history has shaped each area's development. They stress the need for a social history that connects individuals to major ideological, political, and economic transformations.
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