Category Archives: Recent Research

Class and Color Blindness in Mexican Consumer Segmentation

Advertisement from upscale department store in Mexico City

Advertisement from upscale department store in Mexico City

Posted by Marcel Rosa-Salas – doctoral student in Sociocultural Anthropology  at NYU

The trade organization responsible for developing los niveles socioeconomicos, the Mexican approach to consumer segmentation, takes inspiration from French and British consumer segmentation models. Whereas traditional consumer segmentation models in the United States rely more explicitly on conceptions of race, several global ad agencies have their own based entirely on class status. What distinguishes class-based consumer segmentation in Mexico is the particular social, cultural, economic and political dynamics that maintain a staunch commitment to color blindness. This commitment shapes the way this socioeconomic stratification looks as well as the way it is discussed by marketers in Mexico.

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Sharing Tears With Maya Chinchilla

Posted by William Ramirez – MA Candidate at CLACS

This summer I traveled to Guatemala with the intention of learning more about current trends and developments in Guatemalan literary, poetic, and artistic production. In recent years, there has been a surge in not only scholarly, but also literary and artistic production of the “Central American” (including Guatemala) in the United States (See Arturo Arias, Ana Patricia Rodriguez, Kency Cornejo, Claudia Milian). For example, in 2014, Guatemalan-American poet, Maya Chinchilla (Maya Chapina), published her first book, The Cha Cha Files: A Chapina Poética (Kórima Press), marking the first time a Guatemalan-American publishes a book of poetry with themes concerning the Guatemalan/Central American-American experience within the United States. However, her work would perhaps be lesser known within Guatemala. A question arises: what relevance would her poetry have with current Guatemalan literary and artistic trends and, moreover, with Guatemalans, in general, who perhaps have never set foot outside of the country? I came to look for what type of relation might, or might not, exist between literary, artistic, and poetic productions between Guatemalan-Americans and those within the country.


Cover of ‘The Cha Cha Files: A Chapina Poética’ by Maya Chinchilla. Artists – Yolanda Lopez, Rio Yañez

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Ethnographies of “Culturas Indígenas Preservadas”

Posted by Oscar Marquez, Doctoral Student in American Studies, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU

I will be spending six weeks in Guadalajara as a guest researcher at the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores de Antropología Social (CIESAS) to conduct preliminary research for my dissertation. I will be conducting archival and (hopefully) some ethnographic research to understand the racial motives underlining the dispossession of Wirárika (Huichol) territory by non-indigenous rural Mexicans. I have been here in Guadalajara for close to two weeks and it is clear that it is going to be difficult making contact with Huichol communities in the sierra. There are multiple organizations and groups of people based in the city of Guadalajara whom do some type of support/solidarity work with these communities but many seem to be weary of an outsider arriving with intentions to visit and know these indigenous communities that are often identified by the interlocutors mentioned above as “culturas indígenas preservadas”, or authentic Indians. Continue reading

Inti Raymi: Reciprocity and Anti-Colonial Symbolism

Posted by Dusty Christensen – MA Candidate at CLACS / Global Journalism at NYU

Christensen – Ecuador – IntiRaymi

Inti Raymi festivities in the village of San Roque (Photo by Dustin Christensen)

For many indigenous residents of the Andes, the Inti Raymi festival is one of the most important celebrations of the year. Celebrating the summer solstice, this festival has its origins firmly rooted in pre-Colombian times. In Cotacachi, Ecuador, where I conducted my summer research, this was the most important festival of the year. Members of the 40 something indigenous communities surrounding Cotacachi dance house-to-house in the nights preceding the festival. Then, for several days, they gather and dance down to the town’s central plaza, where they dance, sing, play music, drink, and occasionally engage in violent confrontations with other communities.

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Interacting with Native Quechua Speakers in the North of Potosí, Bolivia

Posted by: Gladys Camacho Rios – MA Candidate at CLACS / Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU

The second part of my fieldwork took place in Toro Toro north of the city of Potosí, Bolivia. After finishing the first part of my fieldwork in Tarabuco, northwest of Sucre, I went back to Cochabamba in order to take a bus to the mountainous town of Toro Toro. It has several tourist attractions like: dinosaur footprints, cave paintings, natural waterfalls, the biggest explored caves in Bolivia, and a big canyon. Most people who live in the town speak Quechua.

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¿Cuál es tu nivel?: Studying Consumer Segmentation in Mexico

Posted by Marcel Rosa-Salas – doctoral student in Sociocultural Anthropology  at NYU


The guidebook marketers use for segmenting Mexican consumers

Mexico City is one of Latin America’s thriving hubs for the marketing industry, home to both small boutique agencies and satellite offices of global holdings. For the past two weeks, I have been in the city doing research on consumer segmentation in its advertising and consumer research industries. Thus far, it has been a rich field site for examining this topic.

Through conducting interviews with advertising executives and consumer researchers, I want to understand how knowledge about Mexican consumers is produced in the professional discourse of these industries. I’m also looking to gain insight into the historical, social and cultural context within which marketing professionals produce this knowledge, and the ways in which they put it into practice in consumer research literature and advertising strategy.

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Palestinians in Honduras: From a Thriving Socio-Economic Trajectory to a Potential Rejection

Posted by Gina Kawas, MA Candidate at CLACS – Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU

In June I carried out an ethnographic investigation in Honduras aimed at studying the social and economic effects Palestinian migration has had in the country. Landing in Tegucigalpa is always an interesting experience: having one of the most dangerous airports in the world, the passengers’ excitement after safely landing is manifested through clapping and wooing. But this arrival was different to others I have experienced. The environment was charged with disenchantment and anger towards the corrupt political and business elite that currently rules the country.

Situated in the midst of corruption scandals that have recently erupted across the region, discussions of a Central American Spring have flooded both local and international media. But for the first time in Honduras after the 2009 coup d’état, all sectors of society have united towards fighting against this never-ending problem. Corruption has been one of the main causes for the high levels of inequality, poverty and slow growth that Latin American nations have experienced since independence.

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