PERSICO, VICTOR RICHARD, JR.; PHD

                         UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA, 1982

                         ANTHROPOLOGY, CULTURAL (0326)

                         This study examines the politics and power structure of a small, rural community in New Mexico. Its
                         objectives are to understand how the community's members make decisions regarding the allocation of
                         community resources and to determine the nature of the major factors shaping this process. A basic
                         premise of this study is that politics is an aspect of the broader area of social organization. This oriented it
                         toward an examination of the political aspect of the social network which comprised the community.
                         Informality and openness characterized politics in Cintillo. Politics was not separated from other aspects
                         of community life, but was an element in most interactions. Community leaders were not remote authority
                         figures, nor were the ordinary people an anonymous mass. Leaders and non-leaders knew each other
                         well. They interacted frequently in numerous contexts, most of which were not specifically political. This
                         fostered informal relationships between them. This made possible the personal, informal style of Cintillo's
                         politics, and, to a large extent, it also made it necessary. Although a number of factors affected Cintillo's
                         politics, the nature of its political network was the primary factor shaping local political behavior. On the
                         casual level of interaction, virtually everyone was in contact with everyone else through multiplex
                         linkages. At the level of relatively intense links, the structure of the network was not so complete, but its
                         density and reachability remained high. Linkages at these two levels were used differently for political
                         interaction. Both the interactional and the structural characteristics of the network were significant.
                         Cintillo's political network was shaped by the community's size, location, make-up, and economy. Any
                         significant change in these factors would alter the nature of the network. This would, in turn, change the
                         character of Cintillo's politics. Although this study concentrated on a single community, it suggests
                         factors to be examined in further studies of local-level politics in small, rural communities.


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