constructing local identities in a revolutionary nation: the cultural politics of the artisan class in Nicaragua, 1979-90

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Abstract

During the Nicaraguan Revolution (1979-90), the Sandinista government was simultaneously committed to a politics of class consciousness and a nation-building project informed by an indigenista ideology. Western Nicaraguan artisan communities, a heterogeneous social group with variable and distinctive cultural practices, responded to the Sandinista Revolution by creating a union that represented artisans' interests in terms of class rather than ethnicity, which has historically been a marker of subordinate status. Through an analysis of a particular history in which class identity became salient, in this article I stress not only the fluidity of local identities, but also underscore ways in which anthropology may be complicit in nation-building projects that maintain the subaltern position of peoples among whom anthropologists work.

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