In this paper, we examine recently recovered data from two sites belonging to different chronological periods in the Lurin j Valley of the Perúvian central coast. We discuss in a comparative framework how rural elites in the settlements ofLote B \ and Panquilma saw their lives transformed while dealing with the intrusion of the Lima polity and the Inkas, respectively. Each site presents evidence of at least two sets of ritual and feasting activities, one in domestic contexts and another associated with monumental architecture. We propose that in both cases the rural elites of these two sites implemented a set of mutually constituted strategies when dealing with outside political influence. These strategies were oriented upwards to deal with changes at the regional level as well as downwards to maintain their privileged position in their own communities during moments of change. These parallel strategies were developed through a complex interplay of economics, ideology, and public prestige available to the elites. In the case of Lote B, the rural elites acquired economic power, consolidating a loose level of leadership by sacrificing part of their public prestige. At Panquilma, we find evidence for the existence of rural elites with a solid economic position who were compelled to search for legitimization and prestige in the local realm rather than by participating in a new and larger economic system.