being-in-the-market versus being-in-the-plaza: material culture and the construction of social reality in Spanish America



This article describes how the people of Cartago, Costa Rica—compelled, like each of us, to create—incorporate the material culture of their town's market and plaza into social situations. In so doing, they move from the physical reality of simply being there to the distinctive social realities of being-in-the-market and being-in-the-plaza. The juxtaposition of these two complementary realities, the article concludes, constitutes the dialectic through which Spanish American culture becomes. [interpretation, symbolic interactionism, experience, material culture, humanistic anthropology]