Translocalidad y la antropología de los procesos globales: saber y poder en Chiapas y Yucatán

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Abstract

This paper proposes a critical reflection that validates the concept of translocality. I argue that the notion of locality, although indispensable in anthropology, often inscribes or even "locks up" culture in time and space, thus contributing to the institutionalization of the global-local dichotomy. In contrast, and supplementing it, translocality, as a concept, requires the recognition of forms of cultural exchange where the relations among blurred local groups foster the production of cultural hybrids and the transcendence of dichotomies that essentialize the local.Using my fieldwork in Chiapas and Yucatan,Mexico, where I have studied "local" medical knowledges, gastronomy, and identity, respectively, I uncover the mechanisms that produce forms of action that transcend the spatial-temporal limits generally presumed by the concept of "locality" and that are deployed to counter new forms of cultural colonialism. Looking at medical knowledge among speakers of different indigenous languages in Chiapas and at nutritional and dietetic knowledge in Yucatán, I show how, "locally", individuals and groups of people engage in forms of negotiation and appropriation of universalized discourses, to forge culturally hybrid discourses that are inscribed in the interstices of the global and the local. I argue that the concept of "translocality" suggests shifting temporal and spatial attributes that help us overcome the conceptual limits imposed by the local-global dichotomy. It also prevents representations of the local as static and unchanging forms anchored in a definite territory.

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