Accepted paper:

Patrons saints, prestige and power: changes in fiesta organizing in the central valleys of Oaxaca, Mexico

Authors:

Joanna Zamorska (University of Warsaw)

Paper short abstract:

The paper discusses changes in the fiesta organizing in three suburban communities in Oaxaca, Mexico. I will focus on the increased recognition of women’s participation in fiesta organizing, which results in changes in the power relations and constructing prestige in local communities.

Paper long abstract:

Honoring patron saints by dedicating feasts to them still plays an important role in constructing local identities of the Catholic communities of the Central Valleys of Oaxaca, Mexico. The proposed paper discusses the organizational background of the fiesta on the basis of ethnographic research conducted in three suburban communities (2012-13). Organization of fiestas is not only a part of religious practice, but also can be the way of individual and collective prestige constructing. I will discuss fiesta organizing and its transformations due to modernization and economic changes in a context of gender and agency. I will focus on the increased recognition of women's participation in fiesta organizing, which results in changes in the power relations in local communities. One of the most interesting recent changes observed in the field is the fact that women have begun to establish their own religious fraternities with their own fiestas.

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