Ethnic identity in Yucatán can best be understood within the context of regional politics and the promulgation of a regional folk culture. While Yucatecan communities contain several named groups—mayero, catrin, blanco, ts'ul—and their share of ethnic enmities, members of these groups are also always "mestizos" or "Yucatecos," a regional identity that is fostered through poetry, dance, and humor. In exploring this phenomenon, I focus on the jarana, a popular folk dance that is thought to epitomize the unity of Maya and Hispanic culture and has become a familiar feature in political campaigns and tourist venues, as well as in the perennial village fiesta. While in theory the jarana is open to all residents, in practice it has become a spectacle in which well-to-do Yucatecans don the traditional folk costume and re-present themselves as cultivated mestizos, the first among equals.


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pp. 284-307
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