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The Hamlet as Mediator

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Abstract

How the hamlet serves as a mediator in Zinacantan, Chiapas, Mexico, is discussed, & comparisons are drawn between such mediation in Mesoamerica & in Chinese peasant communities. Hamlets are described as socially incomplete, since the social & public activities of their residents extend well beyond their boundaries. A case study of the hamlet of Nachig is presented, addressing its history & formal roles. The changes undertaken by Nachig are compared to those apparent in other Zinacantan hamlets, looking at the development of schools, churches, & other institutions. Parallels are drawn between the hamlet system in Zinacantan & village system in the People's Republic of China. It is contended that, in both cases, pressures created by state expansion are leading to the demise of these small units; the mediating role of hamlets is being lost as a result. 1 Table, 1 Figure, 18 References. D. Weibel

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