Gildner (2009) reveals that for the Peruvian elites had for many decades attempted to bring an indigenous population largely viewed as backwards and pre-modern into the world of modernity without success. Therefore, it was thought that Cornell Peru Project (CPP) could bring to an end this kind of development dilemma. Cornell, working in partnership with the Instituto Indigenista Peruano (Peruvian Indigenous Institute, IIP), researched both provoked and studied social change among this indigenous population at Vicos using participant intervention method (Cornell University, n.d). By improving conditions in vital areas of education, health care, and agriculture, local anthropologists sought to insulate discrete agents of change and to monitor how effective they were. The main aim of doing this was to help improve the living standards of living of Vicos inhabitants.
The most practical impact of U.S modernization efforts at Vicos came about because of pushing the Peruvian indigesimo towards an integrationalist position while marginalizing more radical advocacy for agrarian reforms. Gildner (2009) notes that the researchers of CPP found themselves between indigenous communities demanding land redistribution and land owners in the rural areas seeking the maintenance of property rights. Acting as an alternative to agrarian reform, the CPP promoted a more traditional answer to the “Indian problem” aimed at cultural assimilation as well as incorporation of politics through Spanish literacy training, increased political participation and compulsory military service. Gildner (2009) argues that this “conservative wait-and-see approach” came about from the isolated and objective science intrinsic to the modernization efforts of Cornell’s team. The success of the project was also based on power. It is the power that helped the Vicosinos achieve a wider sharing of positive values than they had under manorial regime. Wood (1975) notes that power was recognized as a key element in change and the distribution of power in the form of participation and responsibility in decision-making to people in the community. This happened to be one of the major goals of CPP according to Wood (1975). To ensure that this became successful, CPP created a decision-making power base for the entire community through the mayorales, which is a political group within the hacienda system. Wood notes that, despite the mayorales being older men and less susceptible to innovation compared to other members of the society, the project coordinators felt that it was viable to work through traditional authority group to help drive the agenda. Research conducted by Cornell University was also aimed at stimulating and promoting technological change in underdeveloped areas. Wood reveals