Belmonte De Los Caballeros

Belmonte De Los Caballeros: Anthropology and History in an Aragonese Community

Copyright Date: 1983
Pages: 386
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  • Book Info
    Belmonte De Los Caballeros
    Book Description:

    Spain's most productive, creative, and highly regarded anthropologist, Carmelo Lison-Tolosana was born in the small Aragonese community he calls Belmonte." This work reflects both his deep knowledge of the village and the objectivity of his professional training.

    Originally published in 1983.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5586-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
    (pp. v-viii)
    James W. Fernandez

    The reader has before him one of the finest ethnographies of the anthropological literature of southern Europe. One welcomes its reappearance almost two decades after its publication. This appraisal can be justified only by reference to what anthropology is and tries to do and, within that disciplinary purpose, what an ethnography is and tries to do.

    Anthropology, very simply, seeks to contribute to our comprehensive understanding of human nature by documenting its diverse expressions. Nothing human is alien to anthropological inquiry, for everything human contributes to the understanding of the possibilities of that nature. Within that overarching purpose, it is...

    (pp. ix-x)
    C. L-T.
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-xi)
    (pp. xii-xii)
  6. List of Maps
    (pp. xii-xii)
    (pp. 1-14)

    On the main road from Madrid to Barcelona, south east of the capital of Aragón, there is a small town of some 1300 people. It is situated in the heart of the middle Ebro valley, or more exactly on its smooth miocenic slopes.

    To the north-east of the town’s territorial boundaries (término) there extends a range of chalk mountains, white and sterile, with sharp pointed pinnacles rising occasionally to 300 metres. The lower slopes of these mountains dissolve into a great terrace of boulders and reddish soil where the vines, cereals, and almond trees grow. The final undulations of this...

  8. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
    (pp. 15-38)

    A stranger to the town would be aware, after only a few chance conversations in the street, that the same topics come up again and again. Let us consider one of them.

    As work in the fields absorbs the daylight hours of practically all the men over school age, it is only natural that every man’s attention should be primarily taken up with the soil and the fields and that this should be reflected in their use of the language. This concern is revealed in the richness of a special vocabulary, while the abundance of characteristic colloquialisms indicate, if not...

    (pp. 39-53)

    It has been indicated in the previous pages how to an outsider the people of Belmonte appear as a united group, especially in opposition to other small communities. However within the actual structure of this united group lie internal tensions and conflicts. It will be seen how the ownership of land can under certain circumstances provoke violent antagonisms within the community, though on other occasions landownership can intensify the cohesion of the group.

    Towards the end of January 1930 the defeated dictator Primo de Rivera left Spain. By failing to call a meeting of the ‘Cortes’ within three months of...

    (pp. 54-79)

    The predominance of agricultural topics in conversation introduced us to the analysis of the cycle of agricultural activities of primary importance in the life of the community. Expressions quoted revealed a whole range of differentiation and social distance. I also indicated the emotive character of the phrases which betrayed the sense of inferiority felt by the countryman towards the city dweller. The sacrifices made by parents to educate their children at a school in the city clearly showed the desire to improve their social position. The agriculturalcampañas, or periods of the most intense work, were considered sociologically as times...

    (pp. 80-93)

    External and objective criteria, such as the distribution of property and the degree of real or potential economic and political power, may be used as an introduction to the study of social status. Another series of criteria, this time internal and subjective, are needed in order to analyse the behaviour, values and sentiments of each of the groups, as well as their attitudes towards one another.

    Psychological interpretations allow us to animate and amplify the purely economic aspects of the hierarchy and to distinguish (a) the individual’s awareness of the existence of hierarchical groups in the community, that is to...

    (pp. 94-118)

    René Alleau in his analysis of the nature of symbols¹ develops as his principal thesis the advantage and even the necessity of distinguishing the concepts of ‘symbol’ and ‘synthème’. The symbol, he says, is ‘en partie concevable, en partie inconcevable’, ‘l’expression d’un lien entre l’humain et le divin’. Thesynthèmeon the contrary ‘est fondé sur le compréhension de la signification qu’il transmet et sur le déchiffrement de l’enigme qu’il propose à des hommes qui, grâce à lui, peuvent communiquer entre eux’. ‘L’essentiel de ce synthème demeure qu’il soit interprété aisément par tous grâce à une analyse immediate’. Affirming the...

    (pp. 119-142)

    The social life of the town in 1960 bears little resemblance to that what it was at the beginning of the civil war in 1936. New ideas and customs have replaced the old ones. What principles can be observed in the disappearance of the old forms and the rising of the new ones? I distinguish between two groups of problems which arise from two related, but different, concepts: that of social change, and that of social development. All alterations in the social life of a community represent social change. The growth of and adaptation to social change and its attempted...

    (pp. 143-169)

    In the preceding pages brief references have already been made to the family in its broadest sense. Now the sociological content of the word family—familia—needs to be considered more precisely. It is an essential theme in the study of the social structure of any community, and particularly important when referring to the family in a small Spanish town, the positive characteristics of which are well known, whilst the negative side, the tensions and conflicts, are rarely mentioned. Yet the latter are just as important and the true character of the domestic community can only be captured by analyzing...

    (pp. 170-201)

    Age is an important element in the community’s system of relationships. First I will consider the traditional roles and functions assigned to an individual by the community according to his age, and then the social conditions under which new age-groups or generations are formed.

    The first phase, for the purpose of this chapter, in the history of an individual covers the period from birth to fourteen years, the age when most people leave school. This first stage of life is the least relevant to the prematrimonial relationships andsitusof the individual. In the course of it the child is...

  17. IX LAW: I
    (pp. 202-236)

    When we say that Belmonte is apueblowe refer in the first place to a well-defined geographical area of seventeen square kilometers. The territorial area or municipaltérminois divided between thepuebloproper, or the space occupied by the buildings, and the remainder given over to cultivation or wasteland. There are no inhabited farmsteads; everyone lives in the town and sets out daily to his plots. A geographic community of residence is thus the second characteristic of thepueblo, and agricultural occupations (with an almost self-sufficient agricultural economy during the last few centuries) the third. In the centre...

  18. X LAW: II
    (pp. 237-258)

    Continuing the analysis of juridical reality we now pass from the ideas and juridical conscience of the people to the facts, to see when the individual governs his conduct by the juridic order proper and when he acts according to conventions and traditional norms.

    The irrigation system. Today the irrigation system is controlled by the Syndicate of Irrigation, by the local Junta of Irrigation, and by local conventions. The Syndicate of Irrigation, through its Ordinances, operates in all those towns which benefit from the same canal. It administers the volume of water and repairs and cleans the main canal. This...

    (pp. 259-283)

    Ferdinand the Catholic achieved national unity with the capture of Granada in 1492 and with the incorporation of Navarre into the Spanish State in 1512. At the same time the King and Queen endeavoured to bring about racial homogeneity by expelling the Jews in 1492, and to secure religious unity they obtained a Bull from Pope Sixtus IV (1478) authorizing them to nominate inquisitors in the tribunal of the Inquisition. The Council of the Supreme and General Inquisition was created in 1483 and from the first moment functioned as an instrument of the State, its affairs thus escaping pontifical jurisdiction....

    (pp. 284-312)

    The notes in the parish books under the heading ‘Status Animarum’ seek to determine quantitatively one aspect of the religiosity of the parishioners. At Easter every year the vicar signed a report which almost invariably went thus: ‘I the undersigned, make a report, how in the year … with regard to the Holy Sacrament of Penance and the Eucharist, the obligation has been fulfilled at the time fixed … by our Holy Mother Church, by all the people who are bound by it in this parish of Our Lady of the Assumption. In number they are …’. This scheme, copied...

  21. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
    (pp. 313-348)

    The full meaning of social conduct cannot become clear until the whole range of social beliefs or assumptions has been examined; these may not at first glance constitute a coherent system of explicit ideas, but nevertheless they underlie every line of action and condition the behaviour of individuals. These basic social assumptions, the collective beliefs in force in a community, have been termedvigencias—fromvigens,vigere—by Ortega y Gasset.¹ Their specific nature will be defined in the pages that follow by scrutinizing the use of certain words and forms of expression.

    Strange though it may seem, the word...

    (pp. 349-357)

    About the middle of the seventeenth century a traveller who passed through the town was surprised at the careful cultivation of the fields. The papers of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem referring to the plots owned by the Order in thetérmino, speak of the obligations of each proprietor with regard to the tilling of the soil and the proper methods and seasons for carrying out the tasks. In the document of 1186 there is mention of the irrigation ditches which water the fields. Thus, throughout the history of the town the relation of man to his environment...

  24. I Glossary of Spanish terms
    (pp. 358-359)
  25. II Glossary of monetary units
    (pp. 360-360)
    (pp. 361-362)
  27. INDEX
    (pp. 363-369)