Kristen Adler

Publication Date



This dissertation examines political process and ideology in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico, focusing on the Tsotsil-speaking community of Zinacantán. The complex interplay between constructions of tradition and modernity clearly indicates that Zinacantán is not the isolated, "closed corporate community" often portrayed in the anthropological literature. Rather, complexities that emerge from local narratives suggest profound ideological pluralism, e.g., liberal individualism alongside hierarchical complementarity. Through a focus on narrative and event, this work challenges received notions of tradition and modernity and demonstrates the diverse ways in which Zinacantecos are traditionalizing the modern and modernizing the traditional through reflexive communicative means. Although this research focuses on Zinacantán, it also takes into consideration the influences of the Zapatista movement, the "indigenization" of the nearby ladino town of San Cristóbal and broad patterns of shifting political ideologies. As such, this work is in dialogue with and contributes new perspectives to current debates pertaining to neoliberalism and globalization, particularly by problematizing theories that view globalization as homogenizing.'"


Mexico, globalization, neoliberalism, pluralism, ethnicity, politics


Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship; Jacobs Research Fund, Whatcom Museum Society; Latin American and Iberian Institute, University of New Mexico; Graduate and Professional Student Association, University of New Mexico; Office of Graduate Studies, University of New Mexico

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Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Department of Anthropology

First Advisor

Dinwoodie, David

First Committee Member (Chair)

Nagengast, Carole

Second Committee Member

Oakdale, Suzanne

Third Committee Member

Haviland, John

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Anthropology Commons