Religious Regimes in Peru:
Religion and state development in a long-term perspective and the effects in the Andean village of Zurite
(1994, Amsterdam University Press)

This study traces religion and politics throughout the entire known Peruvian past until 1991, viewed from a world-historical perspective, with its focus on the Andean village of Zurite. This rural village is situated some 35 km to the west of the imperial city of Cusco, the ancient Inca capital. This study is based on a great many historical sources, including archival studies both in Peru and Spain, as well as on contemporary cultural anthropological village research by the author, while using an original theoretical model departing from the sociology of Norbert Elias.
This sociological model consists of behavioral regimes as processes formed by interdependent people. Within such regimes, the people involved share certain types of behavior (at least to some extent), while they experience certain needs and wishes as well as social constraints exercised by other people. Such regimes also determine people’s perceptions to a considerable extent. Simple as it may sound, this sociological model had not yet been used before as such, while it has turned out to be very effective for not only analyzing Peruvian religion and politics but also, in fact, for investigating all social situations worldwide.
For this study, I was awarded a 1993 Praemium Erasmianum Study Prize.
This book is a slightly improved version of my cum laude Ph.D. thesis defended at the University of Amsterdam on October 12, 1992.
The ebook version (PDF) can be downloaded here for free.
The official book presentation on August 9, 1996, in the Salón de Grados, Paraninfo Universitario UNSAAC, Plaza de Armas, Cusco can be watched  here.
Praise for Religious Regimes in Peru:
“An excellent conspectus.”Times Literary Supplement
“Important, innovative, interdisciplinary study of religion and politics from Peru’s earliest known history (8000 BC) to 1991.” R. Hoefte in: Handbook of Latin American Studies, 55, 1995
“I see this work as one which is innovative, and likely to enjoy a broad cross-disciplinary appeal.” John R. Fisher, Professor of Peruvian History, University of Liverpool, UK
“A rare documentation of a long process of religious change and development within a given social context. The combination of historical narrative, the feeling for geographical location, and the sensitivity to sociological considerations epithomized in the shifting locus of political power, results in the unique portrayal of the religious life of a community. The theoretical considerations which inform this work are of salience and importance generally. I am most impressed by Dr. Spier’s scholarship in dealing what, despite its location in one community, is a vast historical canvas.” Bryan R.Wilson, The Reader in Sociology, All Souls College, Oxford, UK
“The product of a mature man and superior mind. He combines theoretical sophistication with carefully amassed information in a way all students of history try to do, and achieve only occasionally. Spier does so with real distinction. Such an approach erodes the barriers between sociology and history and makes his book a model for both disciplines.” William H. McNeill, Professor of History emeritus, University of Chicago, USA
“Este libro de lectura siempre agradable, está fundado sobre una documentación original sacada de los archivos locales, del Cuzco (episcopal y departamental), de Lima (Archivo Nacional) y de Sevilla (A.G.I.) pero está constantemente vivificado por una manifiesta convivencia y simpatía con las realidades de Zurite y de su gente, lo cual no deja de dar a este trabajo un toque muy original. Es de notar también una excelente biografía (unos quinientos títulos) sobre los problemas de la historia religiosa andina, todo lo cual hace del trabajo de Spier, indudablemente, un clásico cuyo interés rebasa ampliamente el marco del mundo surandino.”Bernard Lavallé, in: Historia Latinoamérica en Europa
In January of 1997, the renowned US cultural anthropologist Eric Wolf told the author during a private conversation in Amsterdam that he was very impressed with Religious Regimes in Peru, and that he was using this book for his teaching at the Graduate School and the University Center of the City University of New York.
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