Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2000
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, University of Chicago
Sociolinguistic Difference and 'Fractal' Socioeconomic Relations in Sta. Catarina Palopo, Guatemala

In Sta. Catarina Palop6, Solola, Guatemala, the innovation of socially distinct linguistic forms of Kaqchikel (Mayan) has coincided with an increase in the number of small shops (tiendas) from 2 in the 1980s, to 11 in 1995, and to 47 presently, with more under construction. This project explores these coinciding developments, which, it is hypothesized, reflect the formation of different social groups within the community. A dual relation of tiendas in the community to both linguistic and socioeconomic practices has emerged in a way that is a 'fractal' - a form whose relations are reproduced on different scales - of the parallel dual relation of marketplaces in Panajachel and Solola to regional linguistic and socioeconomic practices. This process, to be investigated through a linguistic and ethnographic study, illuminates both how linguistic forms become socially meaningful and how socioeconomic relations are institutionalized in a context of changing dependence on capitalist economic forms.