Owing to the rapid technological advancement and the global movement of people, there has been an uncontrolled promotion (or ‘shedding’) of cultural practices to new cultural spaces across the globe. People abandon their traditional practices and become modern or cosmopolitan to an extent of disowning their cultures of origin. This paper seeks to explore the extent to which the Hn? a? hn? u of Hidalgo, Mexico and Clearwater, Florida, are victims of this trend. Thesis The Hn? a? hn? u people have successfully pursued the problems of desolation and abject poverty.
Facing them now is the challenge of globalism and modernization at the expense of detruncating their cultural elements. Their mode of pursuit of this challenge of ethnic and cultural fragmentation and modernist homogenization is quite fascinating, leaving the reader waddling in disillusionment. Main points The once marginalized Hn? a? hn? u people are now subjected to the forces of modernity and globalism. With technological advancement, the Hn? a? hn? u people now have a relatively better access to electricity, phones and other modes of communication, thus easing and promoting knowledge through interacting with other communities.
A study by Schmidt, (2007) postulates that people’s “degree of access to the outside world” determines their exchange levels for cultural elements. In Hidalgo, “the levels of ‘male-out migration’ have gone beyond 70%” (Schmidt, 2007). This provides a clear implication on the levels cultural exchange among the Hn? a? hn? u people and their neighboring communities. The Hn? a? hn? us’ pursuit of modernity and globalism while upholding their cultural tenets is a complex process that eludes facile explanations, (Baumann, 1975). Analysis Schmidt divides his article into three distinct sections.
In the first section, he gives a brief outline of the history of the Hn? a? hn? u. In this section, Schmidt postulates that the Hn? a? hn? u have been living in the Mezquital Valley (State of Hidalgo, Mexico) since around 250 BC. An intense conquest by the Aztecs and Spaniards, among others, made the Hn? a? hn? u to flee to the “most arid and desolate areas of the valley” (Schmidt, 2007). This was a major economic challenge for the Hn? a? hn? u, and hence like many other ethnic minorities in the world, the Hn? a? hn? u lived in desolation and abject poverty. Efforts by the Mexican government to flee the Hn?
a? hn? u from the problem of desolation and poverty received an overwhelming resistance from the different regional and local factions. It was not until the 1970s when Mun? oz-a newly appointed anthropologist, in an effort to restore the dignity and a sense of agency to the Hn? a? hn? u, changed the nature of the interactions between them and the PIVM, (Baumann, 1975). The second section of Schmidt’s article discusses the politics of “selective cultural reception and appropriation that challenge the purported hegemony of the globe” (Schmidt, 2007). Despite criticism by the Mexican elite, the Hn?
a? hn? u represent a powerful instance of re appropriation of cultural symbols and social and cultural space, Appadurai, A. (1996). A critical analysis of their history not only illustrates their resilience but also questions the possibility of a hegemonic power to impose and shape differences into monolithic entities ignoring local agencies and their intermediations with history, gender, class, ethnicity, and the counter-power relations that ensue. Some time the Hn? a? hn? u tried to carve out spaces and build political power within and without the state (Langer and Mun?
oz, 2003). These can be referred to as politics of reception, appropriation and reproduction which represent an effort to build and uphold a new sense of cultural and political empowerment both within and beyond the Mexican and American states. At present, the Hn? a? hn? u have migrated and are using electronic media for remitting information. This has not only sped up the mutual processes of cultural negotiation and appropriation but also symbolizes a new sense of the global as modern and the modern as global, (Appadurai, 1996, p.
10). In the third section, Schmidt describes two processes which portray the dialectic process a politics of reception and appropriation that selectively (re)formulates and (re)negotiates the local and the global as co-constituents of (re)defined socio-spatial locations which defy rigid geopolitical boundaries of both (Schmidt, 2007). These two instances are Radio Bilingu? e and Mujeres Reunidas. Schmidt illustrates how the Hn? a? hn? u are transforming to modernity at the same time upholding their indigenous values and identities.
For example, in an effort to promote the Mexican culture and Spanish language, community leaders are trained in the bilingual indigenous schools, (Baumann, 1975). Schmidt concludes the article by briefly highlighting the dialectics of the ‘traditional’ that ensue. The Hn? a? hn? u are struggling to adapt to new global challenges, at the same time pursuing their own culturally and socially defined interests. The Hn? a? hn? u can be viewed as a representative of a traditional with a global flavor (Langer & Mun? oz, 2003). Schmidt postulates that the traditional is not something secluded, motionless or rigid that can be fixed in a museum.
This article provides an inevitable case of negotiation and transformation. “Mass emigration” (Baumann, 1975) of men from Hidalgo provides a challenge for the women to revitalize and promote the traditional Hn? a? hn? u culture through establishing of cooperatives for the traditional cottage industry. It is this process of (re) creation and (re) negotiation of the traditional that enhances localities. However, certain weaknesses stand out. The commitment of bilingual teachers and community leaders in advocating for modernity and upholding of their cultural tenets is questionable.
This is due to the fact that the people are stuck to the ideological past and as such unwilling to modernize. Verdict This is quite a reflective article that any one in pursuit of modernity and globalism cannot afford to ignore. This is because globalism and modernity as postulated in this article come with ‘new’ trends. As such, it is necessary to determine the extent to which one pursues the new trend and upholds his/her cultural elements. The Hn? a? hn? u are using their tradition to help them modernize. References Schmidt, E. (2007).
Whose Culture? Globalism, Localism, and the Expansion of Tradition: The Case of the Hn? a? hn? u of Hidalgo, Mexico and Clearwater, Florida. Florida: University of South Florida. Langer, E. & Mun? oz, E. (2003). Contemporary Indigenous Movements in Latin America. Jaguar: Books on Latin America. Baumann, W. (1975). Economic development and culture change in an Otom?? village: a critical analysis. Plainfield: Goddard College Appadurai, A. (1996). Modernity at Large. Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
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