December 1, 2009

To the Editors:

In his review (vol. 89, no. 1, pp. 184 – 85) of my book Remembering the Hacienda: Religion, Authority, and Social Change in Highland Ecuador (University of Texas Press, 2006), Mark Thurner graciously praises my writing and my ethnographic material, but his review distorts or omits some of my major arguments.

Thurner says that the book “leaves history behind” after an early “background” chapter. It is true that the next five chapters take a largely synchronic analytic approach, while arguing for an alternative to the moral economy school’s common focus on historical memory as an ideological source of resistance. The book’s last two chapters, which the review ignores entirely, return to a diachronic analysis. Here I show that structures of religious authority and notions of respect that were hegemonic in the hacienda era shaped both the agrarian...

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