Synopses & Reviews
Anthropologists, folklorists, the National Geographic, and tourist brochures all refer to the people of the Yucatan as Maya when the people themselves think of the Maya as their long dead ancestors and themselves as mestizos. What does it mean for Maya ethnography that the name provides no bridge between the fields of anthropological science and local practice? In "Mayan People Within and Beyond Boundaries," Peter Hervik explores this question and its implications through a new approach to ethnography called "shared social experience." The book provides a basis for overcoming the exclusive focus on "author," "text," and "discourse" in contemporary postmodernist ethnography, while still conveying important ethnographic information.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 195-210) and index.
Mayan People Within and Beyond Boundaries explores the Maya of Yucatan, the Maya of academic institutions and the Maya of the tourist industry. It examines the interplay between the local and the external, academic categories of the Maya, and seeks to transcend the paradoxical and incongruent relationship between the social spaces that breathe life into the categories. The notion of shared social experience is introduced to embody a focus on reflexivity that goes beyond the subjective position of the author and helps demystify the coexisting subjectivities characteristic of ethnographic fieldwork. It provides a basis for overcoming the exclusive focus on author, text, and discourse in contemporary postmodernist ethnography, while still conveying important ethnographic information.