Graduation Date

Summer 2018

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Social Science, Environment and Community

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Yvonne Everett

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Anthony Silvaggio

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. John Meyer

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Fourth Committee Member Name

Dr. Wisahgec Cutcha Baldy

Subject Categories

Environment and Community


This research focused on the forms and structure of customary political organization in Quechua indigenous communities of the Peruvian Andes that extend from the villages to their associated migrant communities in the capital. As the mining industry has been expanding rapidly throughout the Andes in recent decades, describing the political organization of these remote communities is a key aspect of their negotiation practices with these external industries. This research was conducted utilizing grounded theory in a comparative case-study format by analyzing two villages and their associated migrant communities from the Andean District of Juan Espinoza Medrano. This research utilized a mixed-methods approach by conducting over 70 semi-structured interviews and 186 household surveys. Results indicated that there exists a unique form of direct democracy involving indigenous political organization in the villages and associated migrant communities in the capital. Indigenous political organization is used for land management, delegation of duties, relations between the associated migrant communities and villages, and has had a direct effect on negotiations with the mining companies, even extending to suspending operations at times. Correspondingly, this research also showed that mining operations have had a substantial effect on the customary political organizations, community, and local economy by undermining the ability of villages and migrant communities to effectively work together as before. This primary finding suggests that there is a strong connection (politically, economically, socially and culturally) between the associated migrant communities in Lima and their villages, and there is a need for the villages to extend the geographic scale of negotiation for new mining operations to the surrounding villages and their associated migrant communities in order to avoid disagreements, which can be a detriment to all stakeholders involved. Additionally, as the Peruvian government has shown limited interest in regulating international mining companies, it is crucial to develop negotiation processes in the future that include the associated migrant communities, the villages, and their forms of indigenous political organization to make the decision-making process more transparent, open, democratic, beneficial, and acceptable to all stakeholders. This would not only strengthen the government's capacity for proper regulation, it would also reinforce the importance of indigenous political organization and the sustainable communal land management enjoyed by these communities for so many centuries.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location