Land without Masters
Agrarian Reform and Political Change under Peru's Military Government
248 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 1.10 in, 5 b&w photos, 9 b&w illus., 2 b&w maps
Sales Date: April 20, 2021
In 1969, Juan Velasco Alvarado’s military government began an ambitious land reform program in Peru, transferring holdings from large estates to peasant cooperatives. Fifty years later this reform remains controversial: critics claim it unjustly expropriated land and ruined the Peruvian economy, while supporters emphasize its success in addressing rural inequality and exploitation.
Moving beyond agricultural policy to offer a fresh perspective on the agrarian reform, Land without Masters shows how ideological assumptions and state interventions surrounding the reform transformed Peru’s political culture and social fabric. Drawing on fieldwork in three different regions, Anna Cant shows how the government adapted its discourse and interventions to the local context while using the reform as a platform for nation-building. This comparative approach reveals how local actors shaped the regional impact of the agrarian reform and highlights the new forms of agency that emerged, including that of marginalized peasants who helped forge a new social, cultural, and political landscape.
Making novel use of both visual and cultural sources, this book is a fascinating look at how the agrarian reform process permanently altered the relationship between rural citizens and the national government—and how it continues to resonate in Peruvian politics today.
Anna Cant’s research on Peru's historical and transformational agrarian reform is important and innovative. Her intrepid work draws from a wide variety of source materials, such as posters, pamphlets, film, newspapers, government reports, and oral history, to show how the state used the reform to promote social equality and popular political participation. It is a must read for those who study social and cultural change from the government on down.~Michael Albertus, University of Chicago, coauthor of Authoritarianism and the Elite Origins of Democracy
Land without Masters is an outstanding history of a confounding regime—a left-leaning military dictatorship that carried out the most ambitious agrarian reform in Latin America, save for Cuba...Correctly, in this reviewer's opinion, Cant argues that the military government significantly extended citizenship rights to Peru’s peasants and advanced political participation in the country...Highly recommended.~CHOICE
An original, thoroughly researched, and clear book on the 1969 Peruvian agrarian reform and the military government of Juan Velasco Alvarado…Cant convincingly argues that the agrarian reform marked a key moment of transformation not only due to its redistribution of land but also because of the political efforts enlisted and marshaled by the military government to achieve this aim...Cant’s book is a welcome addition to the history of modern Peru.~The Sixties
Land without Masters vividly reconstructs the tensions, conflicts, and enduring memories around the agrarian reform as an unfulfilled and yet truly transformative historical episode in the history of Peru and Latin America...Cant’s achievements are vast and profound...Land without Masters is more than a welcome contribution to the field. Cant offers an in-depth analysis, compellingly theoretical and captivatingly narrative, of Peru’s most important sociopolitical, economic, and cultural turning point. A new agrarian history of Peru and Latin America begins here.~Hispanic American Historical Review
This book is an innovative and welcome study, as well as a timely one, of the 1969 agrarian reform that has much to teach us about the reform itself and its continuing importance to Peruvian politics and society.~The Americas
Chapter 1. The History of the Land Question in Peru
Chapter 2. SINAMOS: Promoting the Revolution in the Regions
Chapter 3. Education for Social Change: The Making of the Campesino Citizen
Chapter 4. The Agrarian Reform in Public Discourse
Chapter 5. The Agrarian Reform in Historical Memory