Writing the Andes with a Capital ‘A’

  • William H. Isbell
  • Helaine Silverman


“Andean culture” as a concept does not require us to think that modern Andean people—even those in remote communities—live in a world isolated from the civil conflicts and economic exploitation of the present. Furthermore, participation in contemporary Andean culture must not be used to mask political manipulation, injustice and murder, as master writer Mario Vargas Llosa (1983) did in his early defense of Peru’s war on Sendero Luminoso. To the contrary, the structure of the modern economic system (i.e., Wallerstein 1974) restricts Andean peasants’ participation in the world economy, typically resulting in their exploitation and poverty as well as poor access to the institutions of the dominant society. Some activities that, in the past, may have been interpreted as resistance to the incursion of Hispanic culture may, in fact, be the result of limited options under conditions of oppression.


Civil Conflict Latin American Study Archaeological Theory Theoretical Conviction Andean Culture 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • William H. Isbell
  • Helaine Silverman

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