The Disfrazados of San Juan Mixtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico
Practicing Tradition and Cultural Identity in a Contemporary Indigenous Transnational Migratory Community
Keywords:Mixtec, Mexico, Festivals, Tradition, Identity, Migration, Indigenous cultures
This article explores what work the disfrazados (jester characters) do to sustain and promote the construction of contemporary cultural identities and senses of belonging among the members of the Indigenous Mixtec community of San Juan Mixtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico. Disfrazados are poignant examples of what anthropologist Peggy Levitt termed “social remittances,” key elements for creating social and cultural capital in this transnational migratory community. The article extends theoretical discussions about Indigenous peoples in Mexico beyond traditional analyses of economic remittances by exploring their “non-monetary contributions to development,” specifically regarding the construction, maintenance, and practice of cultural identities and senses of belonging through performance.
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