Performing the Community

ab 24,90 

Cora Govers

Representation, Ritual and Reciprocity in the Totonac Highlands of Mexico

ISBN 978-3-8258-9751-6
Band-Nr. 6
Jahr 2006
Seiten 344
Bindung broschiert
Reihe Modernity and Belonging

Artikelnummer: 978-3-8258-9751-6 Kategorien: , ,


Economic liberalisation, modern mass media, and new religious and political
movements have touched upon even the remotest areas in Mexico and the Northern
Highlands of the state of Puebla are no exception. When this coincides with recent
infrastructures such as roads and electricity and new income sources from cash crop
production and urban migration, the nature of rural communities rapidly changes.
This study shows how the people of the Totonac mountain village of Nanacatlán deal
with their increasingly pluriform and differentiated local world. By performing
stories, rituals, and exchanges they have countered centrifugal cultural and social
forces. Rather than leading to the demise of the community, modernization and
globalisation thus seem to have reinforced the sense of local belonging. How is this

This anthropological analysis points at the simultaneous efforts of new and old
cultural brokers – ritual specialists and healers as well as young migrants – who
[re]create the community by linking the outside world to local customs. Their
initiatives are taken up by women, crucial for community building through elaborate
food exchanges, and men, whose involvement is central to public ritual life. Their
combined efforts create a living community and link the village past to its rural-
urban present and future, as a place of belonging in times of change.

Cora Govers is a senior staff member at the Netherlands
Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). She co-edited The Anthropology of
Ethnicity and The Politics of Ethnic Consciousness with Hans Vermeulen.