Pasiegos - Sociopolitical Organization



Social Organization. The Pasiegos are generally classed low in the Spanish social hierarchy. Herding, petty commerce, and itinerancy are held in lower esteem than agriculture and settled life-styles. Emigrants enter the mainstream of Spanish society as they are educated and forsake the visible trappings of the herding background. Nonherders integrate more rapidly, particularly when they have pursued schooling seriously.

Political Organization. As part of the Spanish state, the Pasiego towns are governed in the same way as other municipalities in the nation, by locally elected councils subject to national administrative and legal codes. Party politics, active since the end of the Franco regime, and formal political activity in general are most concentrated in the settled town centers, of which the barrios are administrative dependents.

Social Control and Conflict. Formal sanctions rest in the legal and policing functions of the Spanish state. Gossip and public censure function to promote conformity to expectations, especially in economic matters, but Pasiego culture tolerates a greater degree of open interpersonal conflict than is found in many Spanish towns. This is supported—perhaps even encouraged—by the dispersed settlement and the number of properties to which most families have access. An angry exchange can lead a person to depart for another cabaña, tied to the rest of the family by their common herding enterprise but not by a lack of facility for independent living. In this setting, marriage and personal relations in general are brittle. Divorce traditionally was impossible and only recently has become a legal possibility, but separation was and is common. Similarly, open conflict between other family members or neighbors is frequent and can lead to long-standing feuds between families and blocs of allies. Homicide is relatively infrequent but not unknown, and physical conflict sometimes follows angry encounters between people of all ages and either sex. Such incidents are brought to local judiciary officials when parties destre, particularly if blood is drawn or property damaged.


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