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  • Print publication year: 2015
  • Online publication date: February 2015

Chapter Ten - Women and Social Deviance


Being a close friend of Lusiana and my husband just having given me a slap in the face, I ran into Lusiana in the bathing room where she asked me if I wanted a remedy to take away my husband’s drinking vice. I said I did and the next day she called me over to her house and told me to give my husband cemetery dirt to drink, that with this you tamed men, that in this way she had hers very well tamed.

A society’s definition of normal female behavior is often best viewed by examining those individuals considered to be socially and culturally atypical or “deviant.” The study of the socially different also illuminates power relationships and the relative control that one group in society held over other groups. In colonial Latin America, “deviance” as reflected in criminal records, Inquisition trials, and personal papers ranges from the story of crime and punishment to cases of sorcery, riots and political uprisings, and examples of personal rebellion.

Women appear frequently in the criminal records of the courts of colonial Latin America, although given their numbers in these societies, they were less likely to appear in court than men were. With few exceptions, women were involved in interpersonal rather than economic or political crimes. Women’s lesser involvement in all but domestic crime reflects the fact that women led more sheltered lives, did not hold political or religious offices, and did not have primary responsibility for contact with outsiders.

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Boxer, Charles, Women in Iberian Expansion Overseas, 1415–1815: Some Facts, Fancies and Personalities (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975), 46–47
Goday, Scarlett O’Phelan, Rebellions and Revolts in Eighteenth Century Peru and Upper Peru (Cologne: Bohlau, 1985), 240
Campbell, Leon G., “Women and the Great Rebellion in Peru, 1780–1783,” The Americas, 42:2 (1985), 186
Sánchez, Luis Alberto, La Perricholi (Lima: Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, 1963)