The Princes of Naranja: An Essay in Anthrohistorical Method

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In this groundbreaking study, Paul Friedrich looks closely at the strong men of the Tarascan Indian village of Naranja: their leadership, friendship, kinship, and violent local politics (over a time depth of one generation), and ways to understand such phenomena. What emerges is an acutely observed portrait of the men who form the very basis of the grass-roots power structure in Mexico today. Of interest to historians, sociologists, and political scientists, as well as Latin Americanists and anthropologists, The Princes of Naranja is a sequel to Friedrich's now classic Agrarian Revolt in a Mexican Village. It begins with biographical character studies of seven leaders-peasant gunmen, judges, politicos; here the book will grip the reader and provoke strong emotional response, from laughter to horror. A middle section places these princes in relation to each other, and to the contexts of village society and the larger entities of which it forms a part. Friedrich's synthesis of anthropology, local (mainly oral) history, macrohistory, microsociology, psychology, and literature gives new insight into the structure of Mexican politics from the local level up, and provides a model for other scholars doing analogous work in other parts of the world, especially in the developing world. The concluding section raises vital questions about the dynamic relations between the fieldworker, fieldwork, field notes, the villagers, the writing of a fieldwork-based book, and, implicitly, the audience for such books.