4127 - Self-representation in young indigenous migrants in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas (México)

Young men and women who have been born in the rural indigenous areas of Altos de Chiapas (Mexico) and migrated during their childhood to the urban periphery of San Cristóbal de las Casas are the main actors of an audiovisual ethnography that I conducted from 2005 to 2007.

They are not completely accepted as regular citizens in the mestizo city, because of their way of speaking kastilla (Spanish), or the traditions and places of living of their families. On the other hand, they are not integrated back in the indigenous community because they have not learned the indigenous language well, and they did not remain there to become normal neighbours with their rights and obligations.

They have the power, though, to produce and spread images about indigeneity through their videos. This fact puts them in a middle situation in the rural-urban gear wheel, and they act as brokers dealing with images and symbols.

The audiovisual technology has allowed them to go back to their communities of origin to become communicators, voices of the peoples who have been misrepresented by hegemonic media in Mexico. At the same time, the mestizo society has turned its eyes towards their productions as something coming from "within" the genuine indigenous culture. This is how they have gained a new means of political power by making and re-inventing culture with their cameras.

Keywords: Youth, indigenous, Mexico, Chiapas, representations.

Author: Cardús, Laura (Universitat de Barcelona (UB), Spain / Spanien)


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