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Identity and sociocultural change: Comparing young indigenous people in Chiapas who have different sociodemographic trajectories



One of the most commonly used distinctions in cross-cultural studies is the one between individualism and collectivism. One of the criticisms levelled at this distinction is that it fails to incorporate the differences that may exist when comparing people from a rural context with little formal education to people from the same group who live in an urban context where formal education is the norm. Bearing in mind these sociodemographic factors, we have compared the self-concepts among 104 young indigenous people in Chiapas (Mexico), having divided them into three groups: “rural-traditional,” “rural–urban” and “urban.” These people's self-concepts were analysed using a task that contrasts personal self-concept with social self-concept and a technique in which participants draw themselves along with the things and people they consider most important to them. The results reveal significant differences between the three groups. The personal categories are given a higher value in the “urban” group while the social categories score higher in the “rural-traditional” group. Regarding the results of the indigenous self-portraits, from the content analysis of the drawings, 16 categories emerged. These findings are discussed in the light of Greenfield's theory of social change and human development.