In the Name of El Pueblo


In the Name of El Pueblo: Place, Community, and the Politics of History in Yucatán
Paul K Eiss
2010, Duke University Press
337 pages

THIS is an important book for the study of anthropology and history in Latin America because it takes as its point of departure a term used so frequently and in so many different ways that it has lost much of its specific meaning: “el pueblo”. As author Paul Eiss points out, “el pueblo” has referred alternately to small towns, the community or the “people” in general. From an academic point of view, it has become – like the term “nation” – essential to ascertain its meaning if its subsequent use is to then be fruitful. Eiss has conducted extensive archival and ethnographic research on region greatly neglected in Mexican historiography, the Yucatán, into how this term has been used and why. He demonstrates that the term is given meaning and power through the ways it is imagined in local contexts, and that it is in the name of “el pueblo” – rather than class, race or nation – that the communities under study have staked their deepest claims to rights and history. – GO’T

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