6635 - Broadcasting "Maya-ness": Voice, Community Radio, and Ethnolinguistic Identity

Employing a semiotic approach, this paper aims to contribute to discussions of Maya ethnolinguistic activism by examining how two community radio stations—one in southern Yucatán and one in highland Guatemala—“deliver” language ideologies to their audiences. Radio, I argue, is one of the more consequential and analytically accessible interfaces between indigenous activists’ nationally and globally oriented talk and the everyday discourses of local Mayan-speaking communities. My discussion deals not only with these radio stations’ deliberate alignments with activists’ discourses, but also with how radio announcers invoke a particular kind of Maya ethnolinguistic identity in broadcasts construed merely as “informing” listeners. These more subtle and frequent indexical practices, I argue, are likely just as consequential in local constructions of an articulated and inhabitable Maya identity as are the explicit arguments of indigenous intellectuals in more visible publics.

Keywords: Maya movement, language ideologies, ethnolinguistic activism, identity

Author: Bloechl, Christopher (University of Chicago, United States of America)


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