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Capitalism and Material Culture of the Poor: Consumption, Reuse, and Discard of Glass Bottles at Hacienda San Pedro Cholul, Yucatan

Author(s): Hector Hernandez

Year: 2015

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In Yucatan at the turn of the twentieth century, industrialization of henequen production and the export of binder twine heightened socioeconomic inequality and encouraged consumption of non-local manufactured items within native communities. Yet, the official history of capitalist expansion and globalization in Latin America has been written by and for the dominant class. Often, the material record shows that new and traditional technologies were appropriated in particular ways by poor people and offers a more balanced view of indigenous response to global capitalism. This paper focuses on the analysis of the archaeological remains from the worker’s house lots at Hacienda San Pedro Cholul, Yucatan. I examine the hypothesis that the henequen workers were not conspicuous consumers, but conservative recyclers. The disposal of materials within the domestic compounds informs interpretations of different activities, economic issues, and foodways from these historic households. Based on the distribution of glass bottle remains and their use, discard and recycling patterns, I will discuss the consequences of shifts in labor organization and consumption patterns among classes at the regional and household scales. Economic growth and rapid industrialization had drastic social and cultural repercussions within Yucatec indigenous communities in the first half of the twentieth century.

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Capitalism and Material Culture of the Poor: Consumption, Reuse, and Discard of Glass Bottles at Hacienda San Pedro Cholul, Yucatan. Hector Hernandez. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395186)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America