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The house in the market : kinship, status, and memory among Q'eqchi' market women in San Juan Chamelco, Guatemala

Author: Sarah Ashley Kistler
Publisher: ©2007.
Dissertation: Ph. D. Florida State University 2007
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Document : Thesis/dissertation : eBook   Computer File : English
Summary:
ABSTRACT: This dissertation explores how Q'eqchi' market women in San Juan Chamelco, Guatemala use capitalist exchange spheres to generate personhood, persons, and kinship. Women use local kin categories to establish themselves as marketers and construct themselves as persons of stature in their local social hierarchy. I argue that the Q'eqchi' define kinship according to the local category of the junkab'al or
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Details

Material Type: Document, Thesis/dissertation, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Sarah Ashley Kistler
OCLC Number: 228427793
Notes: Advisors: Joseph Hellweg, Bruce Grindal, Florida State University, College of Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Anthropology.
Title and description from dissertation home page (viewed May 20, 2008).
Document formatted into pages; contains xiv, 409 pages.
Details: Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Responsibility: by Sarah Ashley Kistler.
More information:

Abstract:

ABSTRACT: This dissertation explores how Q'eqchi' market women in San Juan Chamelco, Guatemala use capitalist exchange spheres to generate personhood, persons, and kinship. Women use local kin categories to establish themselves as marketers and construct themselves as persons of stature in their local social hierarchy. I argue that the Q'eqchi' define kinship according to the local category of the junkab'al or 'house', a social group based on shared residence and participation in household activities that encompasses the categories of genealogical relatedness, consanguinity, affinity, and adoption. Since marketing is a family occupation in Chamelco, Q'eqchi' market women achieve positions of stature through their houses' longstanding participation in the marketplace. Many contemporary marketers trace their family market histories back for generations, relating that their mothers, grandmothers, or great-grandmothers also sold in the market. Chamelqueños view marketing as the inheritance or gifts passed down to them by their most ancient ancestors. As a result, marketing becomes a vocation for many of Chamelco's women, who state that they market because they were "called by their ancestors" to do so. The prestige (prestigio) that women acquire through marketing stems in part from the fact that the Q'eqchi' view marketing as an ancient and thus valued profession. In this respect, Q'eqchi' marketers establish themselves as persons of stature by tapping into the perceived ancient Maya tradition of marketing.

Market women further enhance their high status by gaining recognition as marketers. In the market, they enact local notions of value, centered on demonstrating intelligence and wisdom, showing compassion and morality, proving their work ethic, and achieving immortality. They reinforce their high status by developing extensive social relations with clients, vendors, and visitors to the market who view them as worthy of emulation. Women embody these relations, which tie them to numerous high status activities, such as ritual cofradias, compadrazgo, politics, and the National Folkloric Festival. Market women often emerge as leaders of these highly-valued domains, thus reinforcing their positions of stature in Chamelco.

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