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Indigenous People in Peru

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  1. Between tradition and modernity: the highlands social structure
    1. The runas
    2. The relationships with others social classes
  2. Domination, exploitation and discrimination: the violence of everyday life in the highlands
    1. The culture of domination
    2. Discrimination and racism

Andean lives, is a pair of autobiographical narratives edited by two young anthropologists in which Gregorio and Asunta, a Peruvian Indian couple, tell their life stories. The story takes place in the highlands of Peru, where millions of indigenous inhabitants who represent the cultural majority, suffer from exploitation and domination. The highland area retains its predominantly Indian culture and traditions and Cuzco, the ancient Incan capital, remains the centre of traditional Indian society today. The highlands give Peru the fourth highest concentration of Indians in all of Latin America. These narratives are first hand testimony and represent one of the first attempts to coax the indigenous people to tell their life stories. The book is very rich and narrates the brutality of everyday life in the highlands, both in the urban and the rural areas. It covers a broad aspect of the lives of the protagonists. In this essay I will focus on specific issues related in these narratives. I will talk about the social structure of the highlands and then explore the experiences of the indigenous people living in the highlands with racism and domination. We will see how the indigenous people are dominated and exploited by the higher social classes, in spite of the fact that they compose a majority in the highlands. We will be led to wonder how the specific class structure of the highlands allows such dramatic life conditions for indigenous people.

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