[This is part of a collection of posts serializing the second chapter of Pasyon, Awit, Legend.]
Latent within the Carpio legend is the folk memory and celebration of social banditry under late Spanish colonialism. It was a moment within the vast totality of peasant and lower-class discourse which was conducted in registers designed to occlude these discourses from elite perception and interference. A superficial examination of the legend finds only superstition and all the old aristocratic stereotypes of peasant thought. Ileto unfortunately has nothing much to add to these preconceptions.
Ileto’s quest to locate lower class discourses and categories of thought was a valuable one. He approached this task, however, with an elite, textual hermeneutic that did not situate the reception of the texts he examined within their historically determined acts of performance.
A careful examination of these lower-class discourses reveals that they contained a deep seated historicity. They are a complex and contradictory affair, in keeping with the developing social consciousness which produced them. To begin to piece together this consciousness from the extant source material will require a heightened sensitivity to each text’s historical specificity and to the significance endowed upon it in its performance.