Summary and Info
In Power and Persuasion Stanley Brandes demonstrates how the annual fiesta cycle reflects political dependency of local communities on the nation-state, helps maintain formal authority, and perpetuates behavioral norms and social values. The main focus of Brandes’s analysis is Tzintzuntzan, in rural Mexico. Two primary mechanisms serve to maintain order in this community: power, i.e., the coercive influence of formally constituted organs of Church and State, and persuasion, i.e., the totality of informal pressures and instructive procedures that lead people to conduct their lives with regard to particular standards. Through symbolic analysis, Brandes demonstrates how the principles of cultural organization can be found in the Tzintzuntzan fiesta cycle. The fiestas are complex events; their very organization requires a good deal of social maneuvering, which calls into operation a series of power hierarchies and makes salient certain core values. At the same time, fiestas themselves affirm and validate the system that gave rise to them. Not only do they solidify authority relations, both official and unofficial, but they also clarify and reinforce the norms by which orderly social life may be conducted. Power and Persuasion is of interest to students of anthropology, contemporary Latin American studies, religion and ritual, symbolism, and politics.