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Indigenous Movements and Their Critics Hardcover – December 7, 1998

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Editorial Reviews


"Starting with an analysis of activism in one Mayan community, a Harvard anthropologist examines the role of indigenous intellectual and their influence in pormoting the rights of Guatemala's indigenous majority on local, national, and international levels."--Kenneth Maxwell, Foreign Affairs

About the Author

Kay B. Warren is Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University, after many years at Princeton University. She authored The Symbolism of Subordination: Indian Identity in a Guatemala Town, coauthored Women of the Andes: Patriarchy and Social Change in Two Peruvian Towns, and edited The Violence Within: Cultural and Political Opposition in Divided Nations. A Spanish version of Indigenous Movements and Their Critics will be published by the Maya press Cholsamaj in Guatemala.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (December 7, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691058814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691058818
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,959,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on August 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a graduate studuent who has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Guatemala, I found this book to very insightful. In my view, Kay Warren does a commendable job of addressing and discussing the politics of the Pan-Maya movement and its actions and arguments since the signing of the peace accords. Furthermore, she describes the role of the foreign anthropologist in the Maya culture and the critiques given by Pan-Maya activists towards the discipline of anthropology. For example, Warren relates the statements of the well-known Pan-Mayanist, Sam Colop (82). Warren concludes that the underlying question is; "What are you doing in Guatemala to benefit the Maya people?" This is particularly relevant to any social scientist, let alone those working in Guatemala.
Of particular interest is Warren's discussion on 'transforming selves'; the belief that certain individuals possess the capacity to physically transform themselves into an animal. She provides an excellent argument on why this belief resurfaced during the civil war, a period of extreme distrust. The bibliography is extensive and Warren's knowledge of critical theory, anthropology, history, Guatemalan (and, one might add, Peruvian) ethnography and political studies is considerable. This book could serve as a starting point for anyone interested in the current situation in Guatemala.
The only shortcoming I found is that the chapters do not flow smoothly. This is most likely due to the fact that some of the book was derived from previously written articles.
Nevertheless, I found it to be an enjoyable read and strongly recommend it to anyone interested in Guatemala and the Maya culture.
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