San Nicolás de Zurite: Religion and daily life of a Peruvian Andean village in a changing world (1995, VU University Press)
This book provides the first detailed anthropological account of the politics of religion in a Peruvian Andean village between 1985
and 1991. It traces the modern Catholic clergy’s strategy of keeping the parish alive while their societal position is weaker than
ever before. The emergence of evangelical churches is discussed by focusing on the question of why modern peasants willingly convert
to Protestantism. By concentrating on the relations between healers-sorcerers and their peasant clientele, the ever-continuing indigenous
religion is analyzed. Departing from the sociology of Norbert Elias, local life is viewed as part of wider societal developments,
such as the (then) accelerating globalization of society.
Like in Religious Regimes in Peru
, this sociological model consists
of behavioral regimes as processes formed by interdependent people. Within such regimes, the people involved share certain types of
behavior (at least to some extent), while they experience certain needs and wishes as well as social constraints exercised by other
people. Such regimes also determine people’s perceptions to a considerable extent. Simple as it may sound, this sociological
model had not yet been used before as such, while it has turned out to be very effective for not only analyzing Peruvian religion
and politics but also, in fact, for investigating all social situations worldwide.
This book resulted from my cultural anthropological
fieldwork studies between 1985 and 1991 in the Peruvian Andean village of Zurite. It complements my cum laude
PhD thesis Religious Regimes in Peru
defended at the University of Amsterdam on October 12, 1992.
The ebook version (PDF) can be downloaded
The official book presentation on August 9, 1996, in the Salón de Grados, Paraninfo Universitario UNSAAC,
Plaza de Armas, Cusco
can be watched here
Praise for San Nicolás de Zurite:
“Reconstructs politics of the relationship
between Catholicism, Protestantism, and indigenous religion in a Peruvian Andean community. Combines interpretation of historical
documents with ethnographic observations to compare modernizing ideologies of both Catholics and Protestants.” Handbook of Latin American
“Until recently anthropologists have devoted little systematic attention to the role of the Catholic clergy
in Andean towns and villages since the 17th century, or more broadly to the extralocal forces that continue to shape local religion.
This is now changing and Spier’s short book is one welcome sign of the trend. [...] The book is strongest when it integrates this
sort of attention to religious specialists and extralocal forces with a full consideration of local parishioners' initiatives and
responses.” Barry J. Lyons in: American Anthropologist 99,3, p.674 (1997)