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Guarding boarders, opening windows – Mayanization and strategies of everyday life. The case of a local school in San Antonio Aguas Calientes, Guatemala.

Ekermo, Anna LU (2011) SANM01 20112
Social Anthropology
Abstract
Notions of cultural identity and its importance have changed significantly during recent
decades, affecting everything from state politics and public debate to conflicts and war.
This is very much true for the cultural identity of people perceived as indigenous, either
by others or by themselves. My field site for exploration of these issues is Guatemala.
The question I pose is: How do local people adopt or resist the rethinking of indigenous
identity that has taken place in Guatemala?

The thesis is based on fieldwork in a school of a local indigenous community in
Guatemala, as well as studies of and interviews with representatives of the so-called
Maya movement. The Maya movement is an important actor in the changed notion of
... (More)
Notions of cultural identity and its importance have changed significantly during recent
decades, affecting everything from state politics and public debate to conflicts and war.
This is very much true for the cultural identity of people perceived as indigenous, either
by others or by themselves. My field site for exploration of these issues is Guatemala.
The question I pose is: How do local people adopt or resist the rethinking of indigenous
identity that has taken place in Guatemala?

The thesis is based on fieldwork in a school of a local indigenous community in
Guatemala, as well as studies of and interviews with representatives of the so-called
Maya movement. The Maya movement is an important actor in the changed notion of
cultural identity in the country. My main conclusion is that there is a large discrepancy
between how cultural identity is perceived and treated among the politically-organized
people and among the people in a local setting. The “local” people in my study both
adopt and resist the changed role of indigenous cultural identity. They adopt it in that
they know they now “should” relate to and identify as Maya, but they resist it in that
they act in a different way when it comes to practical choices. People are more
concerned with bettering the life-chances of their children, than with regaining a
cultural past. I also observed stratifications within the indigenous group, where those
with education, mobility, and power associate with the Maya-identity, while people
with less resources are more pragmatic in their approach.

Using the theories of Friedman, Barth, Cumes, and Bastos, amongst others, I try to
understand the process of changed cultural identity that is still underway in Guatemala
and how it affects the lives of the people in the small community of San Antonio. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Ekermo, Anna LU
supervisor
organization
course
SANM01 20112
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
multicultural discourse, cultural identity, indigenous, Maya, Guatemalan school
language
English
id
2172216
date added to LUP
2011-10-10 08:16:41
date last changed
2011-10-10 08:16:41
@misc{2172216,
  abstract     = {Notions of cultural identity and its importance have changed significantly during recent
decades, affecting everything from state politics and public debate to conflicts and war.
This is very much true for the cultural identity of people perceived as indigenous, either
by others or by themselves. My field site for exploration of these issues is Guatemala.
The question I pose is: How do local people adopt or resist the rethinking of indigenous
identity that has taken place in Guatemala?

The thesis is based on fieldwork in a school of a local indigenous community in
Guatemala, as well as studies of and interviews with representatives of the so-called
Maya movement. The Maya movement is an important actor in the changed notion of
cultural identity in the country. My main conclusion is that there is a large discrepancy
between how cultural identity is perceived and treated among the politically-organized
people and among the people in a local setting. The “local” people in my study both
adopt and resist the changed role of indigenous cultural identity. They adopt it in that
they know they now “should” relate to and identify as Maya, but they resist it in that
they act in a different way when it comes to practical choices. People are more
concerned with bettering the life-chances of their children, than with regaining a
cultural past. I also observed stratifications within the indigenous group, where those
with education, mobility, and power associate with the Maya-identity, while people
with less resources are more pragmatic in their approach.

Using the theories of Friedman, Barth, Cumes, and Bastos, amongst others, I try to
understand the process of changed cultural identity that is still underway in Guatemala
and how it affects the lives of the people in the small community of San Antonio.},
  author       = {Ekermo, Anna},
  keyword      = {multicultural discourse,cultural identity,indigenous,Maya,Guatemalan school
},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Guarding boarders, opening windows – Mayanization and strategies of everyday life. The case of a local school in San Antonio Aguas Calientes, Guatemala.},
  year         = {2011},
}