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Resisting Capitalocentrism: Heterogenous Assemblages of Market and Antimarket Practices in Colonial Guatemala

Author(s): Guido Pezzarossi

Year: 2017

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The consequences of Spanish colonial/capitalist intrusions into highland Guatemala is an emerging focus of archaeological investigation. While providing insight into the entanglements between colonialism and capitalism and their effects on Maya communities, it is critical to not fixate on finding capitalism and its effects to the exclusion of other patterns of practice and life central to the experience of people in the past. Overemphasizing capitalism in our analyses reifies the suffocating ubiquity of an abstract capitalism, foreclosing the possibility of other ways of being-in-the-world that were not capitalist, formed in relation to capitalism or in opposition to it. Instead, a holistic approach is needed that can examine instances wherein "capitalist" practices exist side side-by-side and/or articulated with other practices -traditional and innovative- that exist outside of the unproductive two-step of either resistance to or engagement with capitalism. In this paper I use archival and archaeological research on colonial Maya sites in the piedmont and highland regions of Guatemala to piece together the spectrum of economic and productive practices carried out by colonial Maya communities; some coerced, some opportunistic of the emerging colonial economic landscape, and others having little to do with the intrusions of capitalist/colonial practices and effects.

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Resisting Capitalocentrism: Heterogenous Assemblages of Market and Antimarket Practices in Colonial Guatemala. Guido Pezzarossi. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431358)


Colonialism Markets Maya

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15902

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