Volume 31, Number 1, Spring 2016
Editors-in-Chief: Andrea R. Leone-Pizzighella and Mark C. Lewis
Editors’ Note (PDF)
Speaking on Your Own Behalf: Managing Footing and Representation in “Indigenous,” Intercultural Public Discourse (PDF)
In Canadian cities, public podium talks featuring Indigenous speakers are increasingly turned to as an avenue for raising public awareness and promoting social change. Podium talks provide occasions for Indigenous activists and spokespeople to tell their own stories, to speak on their own behalf. Yet, as a particular mode of discursive interaction, they also organize how such telling unfolds. Through an in-depth discourse analysis of one talk addressing Indigenous eco-activism, focusing in particular on pronoun use and quoted speech, this paper examines the affordances and obligations present in speaking both about Indigenous people and as an Indigenous person to non-Indigenous audiences. Investigating how Indigenous speakers act both with and against the contexts of interaction provide one approach to thinking about Indigenous agency in contemporary Canada.
“A treasure” and “a legacy”: Individual and Communal (Re)valuing of Isthmus Zapotec in Multilingual Mexico (PDF)
Haley De Korne
Speaking Isthmus Zapotec has represented different forms of material and symbolic capital at different times and places throughout the pre-Hispanic, colonial and post-colonial history of Mexico. This chapter explores the shifting and contrasting discourses of value around the language in the current era of neoliberal multiculturalism drawing on an ethnographic study of the use of Isthmus Zapotec in educational contexts in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The effects of educational politics across historical eras and into the present have largely devalued Isthmus Zapotec use and contributed to the material inequalities experienced by Isthmus Zapotec speakers. The social capital associated with Isthmus Zapotec remains subject to negotiation, however, as local actors continue to revalue Isthmus Zapotec through communal, genealogical and place-based discourses, as well as individualist, ahistorical and mobile discourses. This case illustrates the influence of both politico-economic trends and local agency in the negotiation of linguistic capital, and argues the importance of attending to local counter-discourses.
Fresas, Nacos y Lo que le Sigue: Towards a Sketch of Two Mexican Emblematic Models of Personhood (PDF)
In this paper I sketch out two widely recognized cultural stereotypes in Mexico: fresas and nacos. Using a linguistic anthropological framework, I describe the semiotic registers of these stereotypical figures, illustrating them through various types of media, including internet images, videos, and popular songs. I then provide a tentative historical account of when these figures emerged and how they became enregistered in the Mexican imaginary. I make the case that these stereotypical figures are tied to a deeply rooted classism and racism in Mexico that are traces of its colonial legacy.
Mexicans Be Like (PDF)
This article explores the use of “Mexicans Be Like” memes in terms of the heteroglossic tension they both employ and produce, and the ways in which meme examples creatively recontextualize ideas about immigration, the border, contested histories, models of personhood, racialization and presumptions of social value. I understand these memes as an opportunity for viewers to position themselves in political, social and cultural landscapes, and in so doing contribute to an environment where consumers are not passive but quintessentially productive, altering the meme content, and redeploying them into new social domains. In an attempt to appreciate the work “Mexicans Be Like” memes do, I consider how the “Mexicans Be Like” meme produces and contests certain models of personhood and the social values associated with them. This piece explores how the producer/consumers of this meme are necessarily bricoleurs, constructing meaning via their thoughtful deployment of cultural, at times stereotypic, referents. This article points to ways in which people produce meaning through their engagement with the meme form, using it to challenge dominant narratives in the context of a collaboratively produced Web 2.0 environment.