They Eat from Their Labor

Work and Social Change in Colonial Bolivia

This book challenges the notion of indigenous Latin American peasants as passive creatures, merely surviving in the shadow of their elite masters. Instead, peasants appear as resourceful and clever, using the system to survive and, in some cases, to survive well. . . . An important contribution.
American Historical Review

A study of the growth of the indigenous labor force in upper Peru (now Bolivia) during colonial times. Ann Zulawski provides case studies in mining and agriculture, and places her data within a larger historical context than analyzes Iberian and Andean concepts of gender, property, and labor. She concludes that although mercantilism made a critical impact in the New World, the colonial economic system in the Andes was not yet capitalist. Attitudes of both indigenous peoples and Spanish colonizers hindered the process of turning work into a commodity. In addition, the mobilization of labor power both reinforced and undermined each society's ideas about the economic and social roles of men and women.

304 Pages, 6 x 9 in.

December, 1994

isbn : 9780822983712

about the author

Ann Zulawski

Ann Zulawski is professor of history and Latin American studies at Smith College.

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Ann Zulawski