Maya or Mestizo?: Nationalism, Modernity, and its Discontents
The Maya of the Yucatán have long been drawn into the Mexican state's attempt to create modern Mexican citizens (mestizos). At the same time, they have contended with globalization pressures, first with hemp production and more recently with increased tourism and the fast-growing influence of American-based evangelical Protestantism. Despite these pressures to turn Maya into mestizo, the citizens of the small town of Maxcanú have used subtle forms of resistance—humor, satire, and language—to maintain aspects of their traditional identity.
Loewe offers a contemporary look at a Maya community caught between tradition and modernity. He skilfully weaves the history of Mexico and this particular community into the analysis, offering a unique understanding of how one local community has faced the onslaught of modernization.
- Series: Teaching Culture: UTP Ethnographies for the Classroom
- World Rights
- Page Count: 224 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 8.9in
ReviewsRarely do ethnographers take such a comprehensive and informed look at the places they work as Loewe has in this book. Based on more than 20 years of anthropological research, Mayan language studies, and an active engagement with local cultural and economic processes, this ethnography offers a panoramic view of Yucatán life, history, and politics—all through the very intimate lens of Maxcanú, a small community at the literal, and figurative, intersection of the global economy.
Walter Little, SUNY Albany
Pointing to the now familiar processes of strategic essentialism, revitalization of traditions, witchcraft, nostalgia, and resistance that often occur when modernity and indigeneity mix and meet, Maya or Mestizo? exposes the effects of the global economy on the local—the transformation of ritual to theater and the changing meaning of symbols.... Its accessible style and attention to the Mayas' irreverent humor will appeal to undergraduates. Linking parody with national patrimony, the Eagle Witch with commerce, and performance with the presentation of indigenous culture, it will also attract scholars of Latin America, Folklore, Anthropology, and Performance Studies.
Beverly Stoeltje, Indiana University
Rich. Insightful. Witty. A real pleasure to read and so well proportioned. A great introduction to life on the Yucatán peninsula today.
Paul R. Sullivan, author of Unfinished Conversations: Mayas and Foreigners between Two Wars and Xuxub Must Die: Lost Histories of a Murder on the Yucatan
Author InformationRonald Loewe is Professor of Anthropology at California State University, Long Beach. His work has been published in a number of journals, including the Journal of American Folklore, American Anthropologist, and Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry. He is currently an editor of the journal Practicing Anthropologist.
Table of contents
List of Figures and Tables
Introduction: Nationalism, Mestizaje, and Anthropology
Part 1. Organizing the Polity: Structures of Coercion and Control
1. A Town in Yucatán: Maxcanú in Historical and Economic Perspective
2. The Gremio System: The Social Organization of Religious Life
3. Making Maya into Mestizo: Identity, Difference, and Cultura regional mestiza
Part 2. Critical Perspectives from Below
4. Yucatán's Dancing Pig's Head (Cuch): Parody as a Weapon
5. The Journey of Way Kot: Myth as Cultural Critique
6. Caught in the Spirit: Possession, Prophecy, and Resistance
Conclusion: Linkages in the Global Economy
Appendix: The Tale of Way Kot: Four Versions
Subjects and Courses