Class conflict and the corporate peasant community: disputes over lands in Nahuatl villages.
The paper deals with class conflict in Nahuatl villages with 'levelling mechanisms', endogamy, and other cultural traits that are supposed to maintain economic equality. Recent research has shown that many of these values and institutions, which have been analysed as the outcome of defensive strategies by exploited Indian communities, may also mask and legitimize internal class differences after the introduction of commercial agriculture. A case study is presented to illustrate not only the emergence of class difference but also overt conflicts between rich and poor peasants within Nahuatl communities in Huejatla District, Mexico. Such internal conflicts, together with land invasions, have frequently resulted in the restoration of the truly egalitarian, closed corporate peasant community.