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ABSTRACT

In this article, I analyze significant gaps between what branding means in Guatemalan Maya communities and how brands are understood in international projects of legal harmonization that are also about rebranding the Guatemalan nation. Following Guatemala's internal armed conflict, neoliberal statecraft has involved policy approaches that amplify the presence of global brands while compounding conditions of socioeconomic inequality that limit Maya men and women's access to authorized goods. Meanwhile, Maya people are invited to participate in a modernist vision of citizenship and social progress that encourages a privatized model of indigenous identity mediated by branded commodities and formal market transactions. In this context, the brand is a powerful medium through which claims to legitimacy and authority are negotiated at national and local levels. [brands, piracy, intellectual property, trademark, fashion, Guatemala, Maya]