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Cash on the Table

Cash on the Table: Markets, Values, and Moral Economies
Edited by Edward F. Fischer
A great deal is at stake in understanding the moral dimensions of economic behavior and markets. Public debates over executive compensation, the fair trade movement, and recent academic inquiries into the limitations of rational-choice paradigms all point to the relevance of moral values in our economic decision-making processes.

Broccoli & Desire

Broccoli and Desire: Global Connections and Maya Struggles in Postwar Guatemala
Edward F Fischer and Peter Benson
This book takes a surprising look at the hidden world of broccoli, connecting American consumers concerned about their health and diet with Maya farmers concerned about holding onto their land and making a living.

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Compelling life stories and rich descriptions from ethnographic fieldwork among supermarket shoppers in Nashville, Tennessee and Maya farmers in highland Guatemala bring the commodity chain of this seemingly mundane product to life. For affluent Americans, broccoli fits into everyday concerns about eating right, being healthy, staying in shape, and valuing natural foods. For Maya farmers, this new export crop provides an opportunity to make a little extra money in difficult, often risky circumstances. Unbeknownst to each other, the American consumer and the Maya farmer are bound together in webs of desire and material production.

“For once, here is a well-researched book with an arresting title that actually delivers what it promises: fresh, new, outside-the-box thinking on a region that has been well studied. In Broccoli and Desire, Fischer and Benson use the deceptively simple question, how the Maya want, as a tool to break down globalization and other political-economy issues. In seeking to show why growing broccoli for export is both dangerous and compelling for Maya farmers, the authors have given us a compelling product- a ground-breaking study that is engagingly written and innovative in its conception.”
-Matthew Restall, Pennsylvania State University

Copyright © 2006 Stanford University Press

Indigenous Peoples, Civil Society, and the Neo-liberal State in Latin America

Indigenous Peoples, Civil Society, and the Neo-liberal State in Latin America
Edited by Edward F Fischer
A ground-breaking ethnographic approach to civil society as it is formed in indigenous communities in Latin America, this volume shows the complexity of civil society – that civil society can itself sometimes be uncivil.

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A ground-breaking ethnographic approach to civil society as it is formed in indigenous communities in Latin America, this volume explores the multiple potentialities of civil society’s growth and critically assesses the potential for sustained change. Much recent literature has focused on the remarkable gains made by civil society and the chapters in this volume reinforce this trend while also showing the complexity of civil society – that civil society can itself sometimes be uncivil. In doing so, these insightful contributions speak not only to Latin American area studies but also to the changing shape of global systems of political economy in general.

“The Fischer collection offers a useful assessment of the effects and limits of neoliberal governmentality projects, focused on critical discussion of the concept of ‘civil society’…also provides some useful reflections on translocal and transnational relations and processes.”
-JRAI

Copyright © 2008-2012 Berghahn Books

Pluralizing Ethnography

Pluralizing Ethnography: Comparison and Representation in Maya Cultures, Histories, and Identities
Edited by John Watanabe and Edward F Fischer
This volume brings together eight Maya specialists and a prominent anthropological theorist as discussant to assess the contrasting historical circumstances and emerging cultural futures of Maya in Mexico and Guatemala.

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Rather than presume a romanticized, timeless Maya culture-or the globalized predicaments of transnationalized Maya imaginings-this seminar took its cue from contemporary Maya cultural activists who derive their enduring sense of Mayan-ness from a historical consciousness of five hundred years of cultural resilience. The contributors evaluate the history of Maya peoples and Maya anthropology by examining language, religion, political attitudes and activism, ethnographic traditions, and the relationship between economic change, migration, and cultural identity

In comparing Maya peoples across Mexico and Guatemala, the contributors’ emphasis on culture recovers intermediate linkages between the personal and the political, the local and the global. Their work enables a controlled cross-cultural comparison across national boundaries and histories that in turn illuminates the articulation between locally constructed meanings and global transformations.

“All of the chapters feature compelling insights that contribute to a historical-ethnographic understanding of historical and contemporary issues regarding Maya-speaking peoples of Mexico and Guatemala…. I cannot imagine that anyone with a strong interest in the region would not want to read this book.”
—Dr. Grant Jones, Davidson College

Copyright © 2004 SAR Press

Tecpan Guatemala

Tecpán Guatemala: A Modern Maya Town in Global and Local Context
Edward F Fischer and Carol Hendrickson
This case study of a highland Guatemala town examines what it means to be Maya in a rapidly changing and globalized world. In providing an historical synopsis of the Kaqchikel Maya from pre-Columbian and Colonial times to the present day,

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this volume focuses on the dynamics of cultural boundaries in light of the use of the Kaqchikel language versus Spanish, the growing role of Protestantism and the revitalization of Maya religion versus Catholicism, and the effects of violent civil war on social networks. It examines the role of weaving and export agriculture in linking Tecpanecos to larger economic and political orbits and for defining local, regional, and national identities. As a result, this accessibly written book demonstrates that even seemingly traditional Maya cultural forms are actively constructed in the context of intense global connections.

Copyright © 1999-2012 The Perseus Books Group

Cultural Logics & Global Economics

Cultural Logics and Global Economies: Maya Identity in Thought and Practice
Edward F Fischer
As ideas, goods, and people move with increasing ease and speed across national boundaries and geographic distances, the economic changes and technological advances that enable this globalization are also paradoxically contributing to the balkanization of states, ethnic groups, and special interest movements. Exploring how this process is playing out in Guatemala, this book presents an innovative synthesis of the local and global factors that have led Guatemala’s indigenous Maya peoples to assert and defend their cultural identity and distinctiveness within the dominant Hispanic society.

Drawing on recent theories from cognitive studies, interpretive ethnography, and political economy, Edward F. Fischer looks at individual Maya activists and local cultures, as well as changing national and international power relations, to understand how ethnic identities are constructed and expressed in the modern world. – See more at: http://utpress.utexas.edu/index.php/books/fiscul#sthash.pqTUdTr9.dpuf
Drawing on recent theories from cognitive studies, interpretive ethnography, and political economy, Edward F. Fischer looks at individual Maya activists and local cultures, as well as changing national and international power relations, to understand how ethnic identities are constructed and expressed in the modern world. – See more at: http://utpress.utexas.edu/index.php/books/fiscul#sthash.pqTUdTr9.dpuf

“It has been many decades since anthropologists relied on the convenient fiction of being able to study a single community as if it were unaffected by other, or could pretend that any population could be interpreted as a microcosm of its nation or region. But the logic and methods of understanding individual and local group behavior in a context of globalization have rarely been spelled out in a way that could be easily understood by an intelligent nonspecialist. Fischer (Vanderbilt Univ.) does that—and much more—beautifully, as he shows how Maya-speaking Guatemalans survived the terrible civil war, increasingly participate in world markets, and are vigorously experimenting with noel cultural and political activism. Traditionally focused on their own communities, it is remarkable that they (like Native-speaking populations throughout much of the Americas) have recently won recognition of their rights to languages, customs, and many realms of decision-making, while cobbling together a novel pan-Mayan identity that vividly proves the adaptability and vitality of culture as a set of shared meanings and values. Clearly written and well organized, this book combines the best of traditional ethnography with a realistic context of political economy and insights about what culture is and how it works.”

—Choice

Copyright © 2003-2011 University of Texas Press[/gn_spoiler]

Rujotayixik ri Maya’ B’anob’al: Activismo Cultural Maya

The studies presented in this book touches on an emerging movement among the Maya of Guatemala, which receives different names: Mayan nationalism, movement mayista, movement of Mayan revitalization or Mayan movement.

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The book gathers the works of American, German and Mayan educators, including anthropologists, linguists and a historian of the art.  As a group the volume is a dialogue of elaborate construction between western and Mayan educators that speaks on the future of the Guatemalan studies and of the Mayan town.

Copyright © 1999 Iximulew : Editorial Cholsamaj

Maya Cultural Activism in Guatemala

Maya Cultural Activism in Guatemala
Edited by Edward F Fischer and R McKenna Brown
Maya Cultural Activism in Guatemala marks a new era in Guatemalan studies by offering an up-to-the-minute look at the pan-Maya movement and the future of the Maya people as they struggle to regain control over their cultural destiny.

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The successful emergence of what is in some senses a nationalism grounded in ethnicity and language has challenged scholars to reconsider their concepts of nationalism, community, and identity.

Editors Edward F. Fischer and R. McKenna Brown have brought together essays by virtually all the leading U.S. experts on contemporary Maya communities and the top Maya scholars working in Guatemala today. Supplementing scholarly analysis of Mayan cultural activism is a position statement originating within the movement and more wide-ranging and personal reflections by anthropologists and linguists who have worked with the Maya over the years. Among the broader issues that come in for examination arethe complex relations between U.S. Mayanists and the Mayan cultural movement, efforts to promote literacy in Mayan languages, the significance of woven textiles and native dress, the relations between language and national identity, and the cultural meanings that the present-day Maya have encountered in ancient Mayan texts and hieroglyphic writing.

“The book effectively captures nascent efforts by largely urban, university-educated, and professionally trained Maya to reclaim the rightful place of all Maya, rural peasant and city professional alike, as full but nonetheless Maya citizens of Guatemala…. a rich case study detailing the inseparability of culture and politics and the cross-cutting affinities of ethnicity, class, and ideology in indigenous rights movements emerging throughout contemporary Latin America.”
—American Anthropologist

Copyright © 2003-2011 University of Texas Press

Of Rage and Redemption

Of Rage and Redemption: The Art of Oswaldo Guayasamin
Edited by Joseph Mella, Carlos Juaregui, and Edward F Fischer