Rethinking identities: The process of defining an autoethnography and affective ethnography around the effects of mestizaje policies and the permanence of a spirituality of Mesoamerican tradition.

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Speaker : Manuel Antonio Guerrero García (UAM-Iztapalapa)

Title : Rethinking identities: The process of defining an autoethnography and affective ethnography around the effects of mestizaje policies and the permanence of a spirituality of Mesoamerican tradition.

Abstract :

The present review constitutes an approach from symbolic anthropology through affective ethnography and autoethnography to the relationships that derive from coloniality, and the way in which the policies of miscegenation with their effects show particular forms of resistance in spiritual and religious practices from a migrant family of native farmers from Ahuacatlán de Guadalupe. Through a collaborative reflection with this group that has as their scenario my own family, the objective is to investigate and name the different ways in which our knowledge, spirituality, religiosity, and our way of living them socially and culturally, involve us in a dynamic of long historical duration alive in the present of different populations from their belonging to a religiosity of Mesoamerican tradition, at the same time that -paradoxically- this set of knowledge, experiences and practices differentiates us particularly within the plural framework of subjects that inhabit western modernity and its colonial globality.

The starting point is my family history and the different relationships we maintain with religious practices and the impacts that migratory processes have had on our lives. The focus of my first approach is on the life story of my grandfather Martín García, who was born and currently lives in Ahuacatlán de Guadalupe. Martin has worked as a farmer at different times in his life and has lived migratory experiences inside and outside of Mexico, working in the United States through the binational "bracero" program, in this same way as a ritual specialist he has the gift of the varero (Zahori): through this practice some of the symbolic elements of the Mesoamerican tradition of knowledge have found a way to be updated. 

The second life story has at its center the experience of my mother Manuela Garcia, who had a long history of migration motivated by work throughout her childhood. Currently she lives in the city of Pachuca. Her personal relationship with spirituality has been marked by the gift of healing through traditional medicine given to her by the Virgin of Guadalupe, her experiences resonate with the initiation process of a ritual specialist dedicated to traditional healing. Otherwise, I maintain an inquiry into my own perspective within the experiences of this background and the way in which I have linked myself to its spiritual and religious practices through a strong connection that articulates my family to the geographical territory of Ahuacatlán despite our current migration.

In spite of an apparent deterritoriality, these life stories show an important relationship with symbolic complexes of a religiosity of Mesoamerican tradition (even when we do not belong to a specific indigenous population) as a result of our native origin. In this way, the research investigates the social and cultural impact on spirituality from the process of racialization and segregation that comes from the policies of mestizaje widely consolidated in Mexico during the consolidation of the nation-state project.

Keywords: Coloniality of power, spirituality, religiosity, racial policies, local knowledge, migration, autoethnography, affective ethnography, narrative practices.

Bio :

Manuel Antonio Guerrero Gracía, 1991, México. Has vocational training in social anthropology and history with a specific interest in symbolic anthropology, anthropology of religion, anthropology of power, urban anthropology, decolonizing studies, genre, migration, representations on media and social movements. 
Degree in social anthropology by Autonomous University of State Hidalgo, UAEH (2013), and pasant in History by National Autonomous University of Mexico, UNAM (2017). Specialist on anthropology of culture by Autonomous Metropolitan University- Iztapalapa, UAM-I (2019). Master on Anthropological Sciences by Autonomous Metropolitan University- Iztapalapa, UAM-I (2020). Currently doing the presented research for the PhD on Anthropological Sciences by Autonomous Metropolitan University- Iztapalapa, UAM-I.

  • When ?

Friday 23 June 2023 from 12:00 pm until 2:00 pm

  • Where ?

ULB - Campus du Solbosch

Institut de Sociologie (building S)

Room Janne - 15th floor

44 avenue Jeanne - 1050 Bruxelles