A Local Universe and Its Horizons
This chapter introduces the reader to a local universe that, with a change in perspective, becomes also the site from which more distant horizons can be viewed. Here one finds a description of the political system of the community, its spatial dimension, territorial asymmetries, the interweaving of formal and informal powers, and the crucial role played therein by kinship configurations—which from this point on will figure centrally in the book’s narrative strategy. This chapter reconstructs the role of kin groups as collective actors in the politico-administrative structure of the local community. It explains how the collective fiscal responsibility of the locality served to define kin groups’ contours, their hierarchical cohesion, and even the forms of territorial segmentation that they assumed.