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Fiesta and Social Control in Rural Mexico - Essay Example

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Fiesta and Social Control in Rural Mexico

'The nature of things' do form the notion of mind. (Bacon 1960, first published in 1620).
Stanley Brandes also enters in the field with the pre-conceived notion that fiestas do have the mechanism of social control and mechanism is thrust by power and persuasion. Following the steps of Bricker (1973) and Crumrine (1976) he believes that ceremonial life is also helpful in understanding the Mexican Indian ideas about humanity. The study of hierarchical order and his personal observation of rural Mexico provide him the bases to substantiate his hypotheses. The objective is to explore the paradox of the way the fiestas promote order and social control in Rural Mexico whereas, at the surface level the fiestas are the break from the rut of routine life and mostly are 'formless and chaotic' but in reality it helps to "reinforce the
Brandes cites the early efforts of Robert Redfield (1930) and Elsie Clews Parson (1939) who tried to demonstrate the relationship of ideology and social behavior. The writers mentioned above became the victim of the biases of the methodology of qualitative descriptive research and jaundiced their point of view by romanticizing the Mexican folklore, giving the impression that Indians were 'free of psychic and social conflict.' In the later study of Gossen (1974) et al it comes out that ethnic identity is confirmed by the ceremonials, since the person who does not share the rituals and belief of its community is considered an outsider; providing Brandes the base to study fiesta as mechanism of social control. He found that fiestas are the mechanism of controlling process and it is maintained through power and persuasion. Persuasion to Brandes is "the totality of informal pressures and instructive procedures that lead people to conduct their lives with regard to particular standards." Persuasion is concept to bring to light the influence that social equals exercise on one other.
Brandes defines power as, "Coercive and manipulative influences of formally constituted organs of church and state." The church and state become the active agents of supernatural to mobilize people for 'collective religious action' and the skills demonstrated in performing rituals and fulfilling the responsibilities on behalf of community is to exert their power over the community. The study is concerned with the 'fiesta cycle' in anthropological domain fiesta cycle is defined as rituals and folklorists call it festivals. The analysis pattern in the book is of 'Cycle's History' and its effect. The analysis tries to resolve two paradoxes. Ethic and aggrandizement of self have replaced the shared values of equality and the concept of 'shared poverty' in Tzintzuntzan. With the disappearance of the old cargo system the responsibility to bear the brunt of funding has been shifted to the community. The cargo system relied on two major principles; first was the individual responsibility and the nobles of the community were to sponsor, for longer or short period of time, fiesta and they also fulfilled the responsibility to take care of the sacred images, churches and chapels. The second was the hierarchal order, wherein, the ...Show more

Summary

The methodology of anthropological research faces conflict between quantitative and qualitative method, which is more personalized and humanistic. It is observed that qualitative -descriptive method provides essential ingredients to understand human behavior…
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Fiesta and Social Control in Rural Mexico essay example
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