"We are people who eat tortillas": Household and community in the Mixteca


Link to Full Text

Download Full Text

Publication Date



This thesis presents an ethnographic description of the people of Santiago Nuyoo, a Mixtec speaking group located in Oaxaca, Mexico. Its principal focus is on the idea of community among Nuyootecos, beginning with the community as a problematic, rather than a given. It concentrates on the forms of action and categories of thought where the local vision of community is salient, and on the symbols which Nuyootecos represent themselves to themselves. In analytical terms, the thesis grounds itself in the household, and in the relationships which exist between households. It views the household in Nuyoo as the basic unit of social structure, and the community as lying, both in a structural and experiential sense, in the transactions which occur between households. As such, particular emphasis is given to marriage and gift exchange between households, and service by the households in the civil-religious hierarchy. It demonstrates how these transactions constitute specific expressions of a culturally-defined process which articulates morality and individual well-being within a wider cosmological framework, and goes on to argue that the Nuyooteco community can be seen as the outcome of social action informed by this framework.

Document Type