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ascenso de protagonismo poltico por parte de los movimientos indgenas o z
las declaraciones constitucionales de multiculturalismo. Desarrollos de este tipo N
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que la presente recopilacin aborda desde tres ejes temticos de gran potencial interdisci- VI

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plinario: la etnicidad, la ciudadana y la pertenencia, con un enfoque especial en la significa- '
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Dunng the last two decades. social and cultural developments in Latin America have been marked Qi
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by phenomena like transnationallabour miqration, the rise o political protagonism by indigenous >.
rnovernents or the constitutional declarations of multiculturalism. These kinds of developments have ,!!1
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raised questions abaut the dynamics of social differentiation and social integratian. The anthology ro
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addresses the concepts ethnicity, citizenship and belonging from three thematie angles with a ro
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great interdisciplinary potential and with a special focus on the importance of space. ::1
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SarahAlbiez (Antropologade lasAmricas),Nelly(astro (FilologaRomnica),LaraJssen(Estudios
Regionalesde Latinoamrica)y EvaYoukhana(Antropologa,Sociologa)sonmiembrosde la Red
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de InvestigacinsobreLatinoamricadesdeel 2010.
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SarahAlbiez(Anthropologyof the Amencas).NellyCastro(RomanceStudles),
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Sarah Albiez,
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LaraJssen(RegionalStudiesof LatinAmerica)and EvaYoukhana o Nelly Castro,
(Anthropology,Sociology)aremembersof the Research QJ
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Network for LatnAmericasince2010. "C

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..c Eva Youkhana (eds.)
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ISBN: 978-84-8489-605-0 u
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.s:
ETHNICITY, CITIZENSHIP ...
L.U
ANO BELONGING IN
LATIN AMERICA 9"7 8 8 4 8 4 8 9 6 o 5 o

Sarah Albiez/Nelly Castro/


Series/Coleccin Lara jssen/Eva Youkhana (eds.)
"Ethriicity, Citizenship and Belonging in Latin America"

This series promotes an internacional scientific dialogue about the Ethnicity; Citizenship
social, political and cultural irnplicarions of rhe concepts etbnicity,
citizenship and beLonging, which serve as conceptual tools for rhe and Belonging: Practices, "

inrerdisciplinary Research Necwork for Latin America to investigare


borh social dynamics and processes of inclusion and exclusion in Theory and Spatial Dimensions
past and presenc Larin American societies as well as in orher regions
of the world.
Etnicidad, ciudadana
Esta coleccin busca promover
sobre las implicaciones
el dilogocientfico e internacional
sociales, polticas y culturales de los tres
. /.
Y pertenencIa: practIcas, teorra
/

concepcos etnicidad, ciudadana y pertenencia que constituyen para


la Red de Investigacin
conceptuales
sobre Amrica Latina instrumentos
para investigar de manera interdisciplinaria tanto
y dimensiones espaciales
dinmicas sociales como procesos de inclusin y exclusin en
sociedades pasadas y presences de Amrica Latina y en otras
latitudes del mundo.

Iberoamericana . Vervuert . 2011



The projecr, on which rhis book is based, has been funded by rhe German Federal Minisrry
INDEX/NDICE
of Educarion and Research (Bundesminisrerium fr Bildung und Forschung, BMBF)
under rhe supporr code 01 UCI012A-E. The responsibiliry for [he conrenr of rhis
publicarion lies wirh rhe edirors.

I
SPONSORED BY THE

.m. Federal Ministry


~y 01Education
and Research

PREFACE/PREFACIO 9

Sarah Albiez, Nei1y Castro, Lara [ssen and Eva Youkhana


INTRODUCTION/INTRODUCCI6N 11

r.
ETHNICITY ANO CITIZENSHIP IN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
ETNICIDAD y CIUDADANA EN PERSPECTIVA HIST6RICA
Reservados todos los derechos
Karoline Noack
Iberoamericana, 201 1
La construccin de diferencia en la zona de contacto: inrerroganres
Amor de Dios, 1 - E-28014 Madrid
Te!': +34 914293522 al respecto de la etnicidad . 35
Fax: +34 91 429 53 97
Wolfgang Gabbert
info@iberoamericanalibros.com
www.ibero-arnericana.ner Shifting Boundaries, Emerging Communities - Erhniciry and Ethno-
genesis on Nicaragua's Adantic Coast . 65
Vervuert, 2011
Elisaberhensrr, 3-9 - 0-60594 Frankfurr am Main Cecilia Mndez G. y Caria Granadas Moya
Te!': +49695974617 Guerra, formacin del Estado e imaginario nacional en el Per . 93
Fax: +49695978743

.. info@iberoamericanalibros.com
www.ibero-arnericana.ner n.
ETHNIC ANO SPATIAL AsPECTS OF CrTIZENSHIP
ISBN 978-84-8489-605-0 (Iberoamericana)
AsPECTOS t.TNICOS y ESPACIALES DE LA CIUDADANA
ISBN 978-3-86527-658-2 (Vervuerr)

Depsito Legal: SE-5967-2011 Rodolfo Stavenhagen


Derechos humanos y ciudadanas ind genas en Amrica Latina 121
Cubierta: Marcela Lpez Parada
Impreso en Espaa por Publidisa Santiago Bastos
The paper on which rhis book is prinred rneers rhe requiremenrs ofISO 9706 Propuestas mayanistas e ideologas rnicas en Guatemala 137

NOSTALGIA, FOOD AND BELONGING:


ECUADORIANS IN NEWYORK CITY

Mara Amelia Viteri

.,
ABSTRACf
Nostalgia is part o/a migrant's everyday lifo: although liued; imagined, inuented and
re-inuented in dramatically diffirent ways. In ibis article, 1 use an interdisciplinary
approach and base my analysis upon two components o/ research: 1) Firstly; data col-
lected at the Queens Museum o/ Art in Queens, Neto York City; tbrougb 'the multi-
media installation Al Lacro Lado, iobereby, my uoice and that o/ my Ecuadorian
anthropology colleague, tuere brought togetber with tbose o/the audience while explor-
ing material elements related to food, nostalgia, identities, symbols, nationbood and
migration. 2) And secondly; data collected betioeen 2009 and 20 10 within tbe Ecuado-
rian community mostly in Queens, New York. 1 use tbese findings to re-think notions o/
space and the continuum o/ transnational identities in relation to flod and citizenship.

INTROOUcrION ANO THEORETlCAL FRAMEWORK

According to Stewart (1988, 227) nostalgia is "not a given content as its


forms, meanings, and effects shift with the context - it depends on where the
speaker stands in the landscape of the present". The irnpossibiliry of a return
to orie's homeland - whether actual or imagined - permeates the lives of
immigrants across the globe. From rhe re-enactrnent of rituals and re-cre-
ation of spaces that resemble the homeland to rhe circulation of "nostalgia
food produces", an estimated 350,000 Ecuadoriarr' immigrants in Queens
and Brooklyn are actively defining alternative ways of belonging to rheir
homeland as well as to the new land, ways thar are never complete nor linear.
According to Yuval-Davis (2007) neither citizenship nor identiry can encap-

I Ecuador has been officially declared as a rnulti-ethnic and plurinarional Srare. Accord-
ing ro rhe lasr survey conducred by INEC (Insrirure for Narional Surveys) in 2006, mestizos
represenr 79.8%; followed by 7% rhar self-idenrify as indigenous. Needless ro sayo staristics
from differenr sources vary grearly as rhese figures are polirically loaded.

222 Maria Amelia Vireri Nostalgia, Food and Belonging: Ecuadorians in New York Ciry 223

sulate the norion of belonging (as conrradictory definitioris are called inro rion is how ro think of belonging and identiry wirhin a transnarional and
questiori). This author defines belonging as being where "rhe sociology of "rranslocarional" frame which recognises that people have rnulriple locarions,
emorions inrerfaces wirh rhe sociology of power, where identificario n and posirions and belongings, in a situated and conrextual way, but which does
participation collude", Yuval-Oavis analyses how, like other hegemonic con- not end up as a thorough reificarion 01' deconsrrucrion of difference.
strucrio ns, belonging rends to become "naruralised", becoming invisible in Similar to Pribilsky (2007), my inicial research findings also identify how
hegemonic formations. In rhe aurhor's words: "it is only when one's safe and Latino immigrants - in this particular case Ecuadorians - go from stable
stable connecrion to rhe collecriviry, the homeland, the stare, becomes threat- idenriries as villagers, farhers, sons and brorhers ro ambiguous subjecr posi-
ened, that ir becomes articulared and reflexive rather rhan jusr performative." tions of "illegal'? aliens and second-class cirizens. As we continue ro further
In accordance with Holrzman (2006, 373) we need to consider rhe ubiq- problematise rhe inrerdependence berween these state caregories and those of
uiry of food in maintaining hisrorically constiruted idenrities, as ir owes nor others including race, ethniciry, gender and sexualiry, rhe posirions of such
only ro rhe properries of the food itself but also to rhe social and cultural ambiguous subjecrs become even more unsrable. For insrance, if we are to
condirions that allow 01' encourage this to be a space for resilient identities combine the totaliry of escalaring anti-immigrant discourse in rhe U.s. wirh
where orher arenas are far more stigrnarised. Taking a closer look at rhe way the srrong presence of Latinos in cities such as New York then cases will
nostalgia in relarion to food manifests irself in a rnulripliciry of nacional iden- appear such as rhar of Marcelo Lucero, who was stabbed ro dearh by a young
rities - ranging from Ecuadorian to Latino to American - ir could offer a group of reenagers who called him Mexican in November 2008.
potencial window into forros of memory that are more hereroglossic, ambiva- As r include a self-reflexive and auro-erhnographic approach ro this
lenr, layered, and texrured (Holrzrnan 2006,373).2 research study, r combine my own undersrandings and negotiations of being
Food as nostalgia has been primarily conceprualised as a nostalgic enacr- an Ecuadorian in rhe U.S. wirh rhose of firsr-generarion immigrants Rober-
rnent of idenriry, as a celebrarion of a diasporic cornmuniry's resilience and as ro, Franklin and Ricardo and a selecrion of rhe hundreds of nosralgic voices
an opporruniry ro bring history and memory rogerher under difficult cir- imprinred in the colourful post-ir notes rhar were part of rhe Al Lacro Lado
cumstances. One of the quesrions guiding my currenr research is how readily mulrimedia insrallarion. Lacro, a eypical Andean Ecuadorian dish made from
available Ecuadorian food in Queens, New York City (NYC) (labelled by poraroes represents the symbolic objecr arourid which my colleague Mara
business and marketing people as "nosralgia food produces") acts as a signifi- Fernanda Moscoso and 1 exrracted ingredients ro re-enacr our experiences of
el' in rhe way Ecuadorians re-define their own nacional idenriry wirhin rhe differenr places and memories: our neighbollrhaods, friends, ciries, families
diaspora as ir overlaps with orher pre-discursive erhnic, racial and gender and countries. Al Locro Lado was a multirnedia installarion project composed
idenrities. What we homonymically label as "mernory" ofren refers to an of objecrs, video, phorographs, sounds and words (Fig. 1 and 2). The project
array of very differenr processes which nor only have a rorally different was a subjective, rheorerical, polirical, and artisric reflecrion, by which rhe
dynamic, but rhat we also aim ro undersrand for very different reasons too - voices of ourselves - rwo Ecuadorian PhO anrhropologists (residing in the
;. ranging from monumental public archirecrure to the nostalgia evoked by a Unired Srares and Germany ar the rime) - were broughr rogerher wirh rhose
rea-soaked biscuir (Holrzrnan 2006, 361). A useful concept used by Appadu- of rhe audience while exploring material elemenrs relared to nostalgia, idenri-
rai (2003, 339) is the terrn "rranslocaliries" ro talk about rhe cornplex condi- ties, symbols, narionhood and migration.
tions for rhe production of ties of marriage, work, business and leisure that
are connecred ro the homeland. According ro Anrhias (2009, 6), a key ques-
3 1 fully concur wirh De Genova (2002) in rhar rhere is "norhing marrer-of-lact about rhe
'illegaliry' of undocurnenred migranrs" and rhar rhe rerrn and concepr irself needs ro be refor-
1 Similarly, aurhors like Valenrine (1999) illusrrare rhe cornplex ways in which idenriry is mulared. In a similar way, Kyle's (2000) research in Andean Ecuador invites us ro re-consider
produced, articula red and conresred rhrough food consumprion and rhe sparial dynamics of basic disrincrions berween legal and illegal, labour and enrrepreneurial, economic and poliri-
cooking and earing ar rhe specific culrurallocarion of"rhe home". cal, remporary and permanenr migrarions.

224 Maria AmeJia Viteri Nostalgia. Food and Belonging: Ecuadorians in New York Ciry 225

AL LOCROLADO

.,.

FIGURE 1
Writing out Loud/Escribiendo en Voz Alta. Photograph taken by the author,

1 draw upon Mata Codesal's (2010, 24) NYC research study "where
Ecuadorian migrants can easily get into an 'already-present home away from
horne' creating and sustaining a transnational food sphere". The author illus-
trates how migration is then also experienced through rhe body and how
food can be used to fight off the sense of fragmentation or disconrinuiry
brought into people's lives by migration. Other authors such as Fischler
(1988) discuss the relationship between identity formation and food too,
highlighting rhe centrality of food to our sense of identiry, as it asserts diver-
siry, hierarchy and organisation.
The Ecuadorian dispora" is a particularly interesting setting to begin
exploring these conflations considering the irnportant campaign initiated by
the current president, Rafael Correa, to build a sense of "Ecuadorianness"
through certain idealised images of traditional foods found throughout

~ For a more rhorough and updared discussion 011 Ecuadorian migrarion cf. Herrera FIGURE 2

(2005). Insrallarion Al Locro Lado. Phowgraph taken by rhe aurhor,


226 Maria Amefia Vireri Nosralgia, Food and Bdonging: Ecuadorians in New York Ciry 227

Ecuador. Parallel ro rhis carnpaign, President Correas current policies favour upon rheir falsicy/genuineness buc insread, upon how chey are imagined.
local investmenr, producrion and consumpcion by applying elevaced raxes on Wichin chis framework, Sutron (2001, 83) calks about the process of synaes-
foreign imporcs in an attempc ro creare a sense of pride and "Ecuadorian- rhesia defined as food's memory power derived from rhe crossing of experi-
ness" for rradirionallocal foods. In rhe words of my colleague Barbara Gr- ences from differenc sensory regiscers. Synaeschesia, according ro Surron's
nenfelder-Elliker (2001, 13) "the massive exodus ofEcuadorians, Azuayos in erhnography wich rhe Kalymnos, could help us underscand the significance
particular, (... ) obeys rhe forces of a global finance economy as much as ir of food as parc of idenriry rnainrenance (and re-significacion) when migrants
does 'choice' at rhe individual level". The author addresses both rhe general leave their homeland.
and gendered shifr in the geopolirical orientarion of Ecuadorian emigranrs to
rhe U.S. and more recenrly, to Spain."
Ir's a challenge ro quantify the exact number of Ecuadorians living in the NOSTALGIA, Fooo ANo IDENTITY(IES)

NYC afea considering thar a large majoriry had ro resort ro coming ro the
Unired Stares either wirhour papers or using false docurnentation, - rhis par- As Larino imrnigranrs, and immigrants in general, carry a myriad of idenri-
ricularly being rhe case afrer Presidenr Mahuad dollarised the currency in ries rhar are nor sraric, rhese idenriries are subjecr ro consranr negoriarion
1999, a few weeks before he was overrhrown. Furtherrnore, according to the before, during and after rhe experience ofborder-crossing in non-linear ways.
Ecuadorian Consulace in NewYork Ciry, rhe respective Ecuadorian cornmu- In addirion ro rhis, rhe "immigrarion problern" is more ofren chan nor
niry in rhis locarion is a very mobile popularion changing home ar leasr every analysed wirhin a herero-norrnative framework rhar assumes mosr irn mi-
rhree months ro avoid being discovered by the immigracion aurhoriries. Fol- granrs have eirher a nuclear family of rheir own in rheir home counrries or
lowing Grnenfelder-Elliker's (2001, 9) research work in Azuay, Ecuador's rhar rhey wish to have one in rhe u.s.
Immigrarion restrictions and exclusions are hisrorically rooted in rhe con-
loss of sovereignty over currency coincides wich rhe expansion of "Plan
cern for maintaining power and shaping policies on citizenship (Cant 2009,
Colombia" ro include a foreign milirary base on rhe counrry's Pacific Coasr,
42). That is ro say, cultural cirizenship as discussed by Rosaldo (1989) and
rhe building projecr for a new trans-Andean oil pipeline, and a mass exodus
Ong (1999) will go beyond enabling assimilarion to enforcing ir when.ever
now direcred rowards Europe.
My inirial observarions and interviews were conducred rnosrly in Queens possible chrough the various mechanisms of power rhat end up as rmrrugra-
at different periods of rime during 2008 and 2009 whereas AL Locro Lado rion policies in rhe U.S. .
Those same cacegories char rhe government has created to granr nghts to
rook place berween January 16rh and 30rh, 2010. The dara collected deals
wirh the rnulriple ways by which rhe re-significarion and re-invention of whac they have concepcualised as minoriries, pose a serious limit to full c~ri-
(narional) idenriries rhrough "already-presenr home from horne" feelings zenship in rerms of how we perceive, imagine and act upon sexual, racial,
allow new transnacional imaginings and conneccions ro the homeland. Ir also ethn ic, class and gender represencacions char accompany rheir interprera-
.. illustrates how commodiry chains acc as vehicles rhrough which producers
and consumers interact to create new relarionships across econornic, geo-
rion. Modern conceprions of cirizenship, ried up wich various forms of
dernocratic universalism, cend ro demand a homogenous people wich a stan-
graphic and polirical boundaries (Warson 2005). Having said this, ir is cru- dardised package of righcs (Appadurai 2003, 339). An immigrant's culcural
cial rhat we frame rhe social consrrucrion ofbelonging wirh respecc ro Ander- practices, despire persecurion and concradicrory discourse regardi~g rhe~r
son's concepcualisacion of "cornmuniries", whereby emphasis should not be rights, are key to further underscanding rhe engagemenc of each diasporic
communiry in whac are usually double tracked polirics: rhose of rheir horne-
land and rhose of cheir currenc residence. In rerrns of culrural pracrices,
food is scrongly arcached ro che creacion,developmenr and reificatio n of
, For more informarion on Ecuadorians migrarion [Q Spain, cf Camacho and Hernndez
(2008). nacional idenri ries.
226 Maria Arndia Vireri Nostalgia, Food and Belonging: Ecuadorians in New York Ciry 227

Ecuador. Parallel ro this campaign, President Correa's current policies favour upon their falsiry/genuineness but insread, upon how rhey are imagined.
local investrnenr, producrion and consumption by applying elevated taxes on Wimin rhis framework, Surten (2001, 83) ralks abour the process of synaes-
foreign irnports in an attempt [Q creare a sense of pride and "Ecuadorian- rhesia defined as food's memory power derived from the crossing of experi-
ness" for traditionallocal foods. In the words of my coLleague Barbara Gr- ences from differenr sensory regisrers. Synaesrhesia, according ro Surron's
nenfelder-Elliker (2001, 13) "rhe massive exodus ofEcuadorians, Azuayos in erhnography with rhe Kalymnos, could help us undersrand the significance
particular, ( ... ) obeys rhe forces of a global finance economy as much as ir of food as part of idenriry rnaintenance (and re-significarion) when migranrs
does 'choice' at the individual level", The author addresses borh rhe general leave rheir homeland.
and gendered shifr in the geopolirical orientation of Ecuadorian emigrants to
the U.S. and more recendy, to Spain.?
Ir's a challenge ro quantiy me exact number of Ecuadorians living in rhe NOSTALGIA, Fooo ANo IOENTITY(IES)
NYC area considering that a large majoriry had ro resort to coming ro rhe
United Stares either withour papers or using false docurnenrarion, - this par- As Latino immigrants, and immigrants in general, carry a myriad of idenri-
ricularly being rhe case after President Mahuad dollarised rhe currency in ries rhar are nor sratic, rhese idenriries are subject ro consranr negoriation
1999, a few weeks before he was overrhrown. Furtherrnore, according to the before, during and afrer rhe experience ofborder-crossing in non-linear ways.
Ecuadorian Consulare in New York Ciry, the respective Ecuadorian commu- In addirion to rhis, rhe "immigration problem" is more ofren rhan nor
niry in this locarion is a very mobile popularion changing home at least every analysed wirhin a herero-normarive framework rhar assumes most immi-
rhree monrhs ro avoid being discovered by the immigrarion authoriries. Fol- grants have eirher a nuclear family of rheir own in rheir home counrries or
lowing Grnenfelder-Elliker's (2001, 9) research work in Azuay, Ecuador's rhar rhey wish ro have one in rhe U.S.
loss of sovereignry over currency coincides wirh the expansion of "Plan Immigrarion resrricrions and exclusions are historically roored in rhe con-
Colombia" to include a foreign milirary base on the counrry's Pacific Coasr, cern for maintaining power and shaping (Cant 2009,
policies on cirizenship
rhe building project for a new trans-Andean oil pipeline, and a mass exodus 42). That is to say, cultural cirizenship as discussed by Rosaldo (1989) and
now directed rowards Europe. Ong (1999) will go beyond enabling assimilarion ro enforcing ir when.ever
My inicial observations and interviews were conducred mosdy in Queens possible rhrough rhe various mechanisms of power rhar end up as Immlgra-
at differenr periods of time during 2008 and 2009 whereas AL Locro Lado tion policies in rhe U.S. .
rook place between January 16rh and 30rh, 2010. The data collecred deals Those same caregories rhat rhe governmenr has creared to granr f1ghrs ro
wirh the rnultiple ways by which rhe re-significarion and re-invenrion of whar rhey have conceptualised as minorities, pose a serious limir to full c~ri-
(narional) idenriries rhrough "already-presenr home from horne" feelings zenship in rerrns of how we perceive, imagine and act upon sexual, racial,
allow new transnarional imaginings and connections to the homeland. Ir also erhnic, class and gender represenrarions that accompany rheir interpreta-
.l. illusrrates how commodiry chains acr as vehicles through which producers rio n. Modern conceprions of cicizenship, ried up wirh various forms of
and consumers inreract ro create new relarionships across economic, geo- democraric universalism, rend to demand a homogenous people wirh a sean-
graphic and polirical boundaries (Warson 2005). Having said this, ir is cru- dardised package of righrs (Appadurai 2003, 339). An irnrnigranr's cultural
cial rhar we frame rhe social construcrion ofbelonging wirh respect ro Ander- pracrices, despire persecurion and conrradictory discourse regarding rheir
son's conceprualisarion of "cornrnuniries", whereby emphasis should not be righrs, are key to further undersranding rhe engagemenr of each diasporic
communiry in whar are usually double rracked polirics: rhose of their home-
land and rhose of rhei r currenr residence. In rerms of cultural pracrices,
food is srrongly attached ro rhe crearion, 'developmenr and reificario n of
\ For more informarion on Ecuadorians migrarion ro Spain, cf. Camacho and Hernndez
(2008). nacional idenci ties.

228 Maria Arnclia Viteri Nostalgia. Food and Bdonging: Ecuadorians in New York Ci<y 229

As my own prior research work illustrates, belonging, as interpreted ar the in the NYC area. Roberto's mapping ofEcuadorians in NYC is quite acurate
receiving land within an immigration framework is usually described as an as it looks at timeframe, historical context and acculturarion processes. For
imagined and desired citizenship (cf Viteri 2008a; ibid. 2008b; ibid. 2008c; him, there are three types of Ecuadorian immigrants thar need to be consid-
Viteri and Tobler 2009). Nevertheless, according to Yuval-Davis (2007), ered when thinking abour the consumption and understandings of certain
belonging is not just about membership, rights and duries, but also about the Ecuadorian produces sold in the NYC area. The firsr type are those thar have
emotions thar such memberships evoke; nor can belongirig be reduced to adapted to NYC and are able to navigate ir like a fish in a pond ("como pez
identiries and idenrificarions, which are about individual and collective nar- en el agua"). The second type are what Roberto calls duales, those that rnove .,
rarives of self and orhers, presenration and labelling, myths of origin and between here and there either physically through constant travel or syrnboli-
rnyths of desriny, Thar is to say, belonging is not determined eirher solely by cally through the regular exchange of goods, letters, phone calls, and even
migrarory status; jusr as "American citizenship" do es not necessarily override fantasies of retuening to ones homeland. The third group is comprised of
the hierarchical rendering of peoples within stereorypically racist and ethno- those thar have not adapted to rhe NYC life and who never will. Roberto
centric categorisarions of peoples (Viteri and Tobler 2009). also mentioned how the latter group represenrs the best rnarker for alcoholic
Different authors such as Stewarr (1988, 227) have conceptualised nos- beverages such as Zhumir, as nostalgia is rendered, reproduced and ernbod-
talgia as a cultural practice that reminds us of the importance of considering ied through this iconic sugar cane liquor. According to one young female
particular posirionaliries when analysing irs meanings. When critically look- Colombian waitress hired to distribute samples of Zhumir at Ecuadorian
ing ar food and nostalgia in relation to belonging, we go back to the Nine- and Latin American events, Ecuadorians use Zhumir for everything from
teenrh Century where the srudy of food and eating in rheanthropological curing a cold to celebrating traditional religious events and even as a lucky
field began as Mintz and Du Bois (2002) furrher illusrrare. What srands out charm. Despite being readily available in NYC, one of the post-ir notes writ-
in some of the literarure Mintz and Du Bois discuss, is rhe role of food in the ten by an Ecuadorian ar the mulrimedia installation mentioned missing Zhu-
social construcrion of memory, rhat is to say, the embodied forms of memo- miro This could be [urther explained following Moscoso (2010, 178) where
ry rhar consrirute food as a locus for historically constructed identiry, be they memories of food are arriculated through a particular time and history. With-
ethnic or narionalisr (Holrzrnan 2006, 364). in this framework, ir is the people, the dynamics of cooking and the placets)
This embodiment perrains to specific material aspecrs that need to be related to that particular symbolic object - in this case Zhumir - that are
considered. In rhe particular case of the Ecuadorian diaspora in NYC the particularly missed.
ability of going back or nor is one aspect thar will trigger different experi- Ricardo is a 35 year-old indigenous man who carne to NYC 15 years ago
ences and feelings of the homeland. This ability is usually framed mainly from rhe province of Girn locared in the Azuay Andean Province of
through the immigration status rather than economic capital. Ecuador. He lives with his wife and two kids in the Bronx. Ricardo is among
those Ecuadorians thar have not been able to return to Ecuador even for a
visit because of his immigration status labelled by the U .S. goveenment as
DESDE QUE LLEGU QUIERO IRME ("SINCE 1 AluuVED 1 WANT "illegal". When talking about favourite dishes that we borh miss, Ricardo
To Go BACK") looks away while saying "since 1 arrived 1 want to go back" ("Desde que
llegu quiero irrne"). Ricardo could well be a member of the third caregory
Roberto is a mestizo sociologist in his early 30s who carne to NYC around described by Roberto as those that might never be able to fully adapto
seven years ago and remained undocumented throughout. Roberro's status Some of the elernents through which Ricardo constructs his memories
dramatically changed again after his deportation to Quito in November, and his longing for the past are his hornerown, his mother, the "people" and
2010. Roberto has been not only a marvellous source of information bur a rhe food. This is very similar to the information gathered at the Al Locro
great friend who generously introduced me to rhe world of "Litrle Ecuador': Lado installation, where almost identical references to the family (including
230 Maria Amelia Vireri Noscalgia. Food and Belonging: Ecuadorians in New York Ciry 231

extended family), rhe landscape, the "people" and rhe food were recorded rus, Connerro n's (1989) no tio n of bodily memory, and Sro ller's (1995)
alongside many others that included references to either foorball reams or emphasis on embodied memries (Holrzman 2006, 365).
football irself. The following texr is illustrative of such references: "Extrao Franklin talks about a "still picrure" rhar remains in your mind from rhe
los mores de San Juan, a mis panas de Chimbacalle y el frbol de la Tola." ("I rime you leave your coun rry. This "srill picrure" srays close, .irnmovable,
miss hominy fram San Juan, my buddies ar Chimbacalle and football at la and unchangeable unril rhe day you rerurn. The problem according to
Tola"). Franklin is rhar you are never able to match thar "srill picture" wirh rhe real
Delving furrher into rhe topic of food Ricardo rnentioned "guatira" as the picture rhar you will see upon your rerur n, whenever rhat may be. Nosral-
dish rhar he misses rhe mosr. Guarita is a tradirional Andean dish of tripe gia sers in moriona dialecric of closeness and disrancing (Srewart 1988,
stew in a potato and peanut sauce. Similar to rhe Zhumir exarnple, 1 know 228) where popular Ecuadorian food brands like La Cholira, Van Camps
that guarira is readily available ar alrnosr all of rhe many Ecuadorian restau- runa fish, La Universal and Amor, among orhers, trigger a chain of sigui-
rants on Roosevelr Avenue, so 1 was surprised ar Ricardo's response. Inrer- fiers where food enables - alrhough only momentarily - a "rerurn" to rhe
preting my surprise Ricardo quickly added, "rhar Guarita is not the same!" losr homeland.
He went on to share how his family sends him cheese and guinea pig.6 The Franklin recalls rhose /1rsr feelings of nosralgia when he /1rsr came to
larter is another Andean traditional dish rhat was repearedly mentioned on NYC. Whar he missed rhe mosr were his girlfriend and his friends and he
rhe pos.r-ir no res, revealing to us rhe majoriry of Andean people who attend- would call ar leasr rhree times per week. Evenrually, he decided [Q collecr
ed r~e ms.tallation. Transnarional idenriries are thus forged thraugh material all of rhe used phone cards ar which he realised rhar he had spent around
and lmagmary exchanges of food, phone calls, lerrers, gifrs, donarions and US$ 2,000 on internarional calls to Ecuador during a -rnon th periodo
money rransfers. In Ricardo's own words: "These dishes (tradicional farm Afrer a rwo-year period of mainraining a long-disrance relarionship with
cheese and guinea pig) help a lot because rhen 1 feel as if 1 am myself again" his girlfriend, he sensed rhar his returri to Ecuador wo uld be delayed,
("se siente como uno mismo"). bringing him ro end the relarionship and, in his own words, "freeing" his
~imilarly, Franklin, a mestizo man in his 30s working as a technology girlfriend.
engineer ar one of the presrigious universities in NYC, menrioned how Is food a central ground rhrough which Franklin furrher connecrs wirh
before rhey starred importing Zhumir he would ask his relatives to send his Ecuadorian idenriry in NYC? Franklin believes that rhe places where
moonshi~e (hard liquor). Franklin has been living in NYC for rwelve years Ecuadorians play tradirional sports such as volleyball and soccer are rhe
an~ as Wlt~ Roberto, his emphasis has been upon pursuing a college degree insrances where you "forger rhar you are in rhe Unired Srares". Tradirional
while ooking for berrer opportuniries in rhe country. Despire having his Ecuadorian food and drinks are a vivid part of these evenrs, hence ernbody-
dad's partial suppOrt when he firsr carne to NYC, he had to work in all rnan- ing nostalgia and consrrucring belonging in non-linear, subjecrive ways.
~er of differ:nt jobs, fram selling purses to working at a bakery. On reflec- Orher irnportant events menrioned both by Roberto as well as by Franldin
.. non, he .reahses rhar rhese jobs were transcendenral in helping him speak .
the ~nghsh language thar will now be essenrial for his future career in engi-
are rhe Virgin Mary processions rhar closely follow rhe rradirions in Ecuador
but wirh a New York rwist, however rhese are nor rhe focus of rhis paper.
neenng. Parks like Flushing Meadows Corona locared in Queens, NYC is, for
B~th Ricardo and Roberto speak about rhe mulriple ways in which rhe instance, a space where mairrly Ecuadorians recrate rhe cultural, social, eco-
exper.lence of food evokes recollection, which is not simply cognirive but also nomic and polirical pracrices rhar rhey would usually carry out in rheir narive
emocional and physical, paralleling norions such as Bourdieu's (1977) habi- homerowns: from discussing politics to organising a march, ro playing rheir
beloved narional sport 'foorball', ro couples caressing each orher on rhe grass.
AlI this is accompanied by tradicional food and usually special Ecuadorian
6 For more on the symbolic meaning of guinea pigs cf. Archerri (I997). dances and music organised by the Queens Museum of Arr. Similar scenarios
232 Maria Amela Vireri Nostalgia. Food and Belonging: Ecuadorians in Ncw York Ciry 233

have been reponed in Spain as portrayed in Lisandra 1. Rivera and Manolo CONCLUSIONS
5armienro's docurnenrary "Problemas Personales" (2002, 72').
Franklin and 1 got into an elaborare discussion abour "what acrualIy Similar to Holtzman (2006, 364), 1 see food as a particularly rich arena in
changes in your identiryies)" if as an Ecuadorian in NYC, you have access which to explore such complexities of memory, considering at its forefront
to traditional food, sports, cultural and religious traditions. As an Ecuadori- rhe norion of experience in reference ro the pase. In this context, 1 believe
an living in D.C. with only one or two Ecuadorian restaurants scattered rhat Ecuadorian "nostalgia produces" could be used as a window through
between DulIes Airport and Baltimore and none of the rich cultural and which anrhropologists seek a broader understanding of the dynamics of this
religious traditions that are paer of the everyday life of Ecuadorians in NYC, cornmuniry as they continue ro re-configure their past and present, re-draw- ."
I use NYC as a refuge to calm my nostalgic feelings when the tripback ro ing in a number of unpredictable ways the maps of where rhey belong or nor.
Ecuador seems roo far away on the calendar. What changes according to The forging of renewed though malleable identities within the diaspora
Franklin is that the access ro familiar food that is readily available alIows are engrained with bodily memory as illusrrated by Franklin's narrative where
him to rnaintain a strong Ecuadorian identiry, as restaurants are also places he goes back to being himseljafter eating traditional Ecuadorian food, and
where you can meet other Ecuadorians for different types of networking. particularly so if this food is sent from Ecuador. The senses, as a recollection
The fact that 5panish is spoken widely in NYC, paericularly in the enclaves of rhe past, become another opporruniry for an interpretive anthropology,
where Latinos are established, aids significandy rhe ability to navigate the steering us towards an anthropology of the senses, as originally suggested by
foreign ciry. Sroller (1995) and Howes (1991), among others. Nevertheless, nostalgia
Franklin highlights that some of the tangible changes are how one's "last should not only be interpreted as a re-experiencing of emotional pasts but
name doesn'r count anymore" and how the work one do es in the U.5. acts as also in consideration that it may be a longing for times and places that one
a sort of equaliser whereby people from different social classes can come has never experienced (Holtzman 2006, 367).
together. The references to rhe "lasr name" that Franklin mentioned are As 1 am interested in looking at food as a site where the re-construction of
loaded with Ecuadorian understandings around skin colour in relationship identities takes place, frames ideas and feelings related to citizenship and
ro social class and "race" categories (cf. Roitman 2008). Broadly speaking, influences various facers of an imrnigrant's life, from everyday practices to
the lighrer your skin is, the better off you are, which is not restricted to eco- more strategic decisions, some important issues are key to this analysis: 1)
nomic capital but also social capital when using Bourdieu's terms. These legal citizenship versus political participarion even at the risk of deporration,
hierarchies and their inrerprerations will in rurn have an impact upon the as in the recent case of Latino students fighting for legal status so that rhey
choice of food as well as the value and meaning associated to it. In addirion, can enrol in college; 2) nacional and bi-narional identiries in relationship to
having a lasr name that comes from indigenous originsis stilI devalued by belonging and the role of food within this process; 3) methodology-wise,
rhe larger mestizo communiry. A strong sense of regionalism is reified in NYC considering affect in terms of the role of memory in the re-construction of
where Ecuadorian restaurants, as welI as festivities, are welI delineated identities and citizenship in relation to a nation-state; 4) the juxtaposition
between the Andes and Coasral regions in particular. and re-signification of a multiplicity of identities and their role in how
As these narratives show, the conflarion of food, memory and nostalgia in Ecuadorians in NYC identify with one or more spaces at the same time.
relationship ro idenriryfies) becomes relevant as we move not only between The ways in which we remember are contingent ro borh bodily memory
geographically delirnited borders, but also berween and within these borders and the multipliciry of non-linear ways in which we apply meaning to cer-
that we negotiate daily crafr our mobiliry in some stances as immigrants and tain produces, as well as the particular context where these producrs are avail-
in others as cirizens. This mobiliry becomes imperative as such borders are able. Nacional symbols ranging from the colours of the flag to traditional
continualIy changing and mutating within the fast-forward dynamics of dishes and the availability of their ingredients are magnified by many
globalisation (Giroux 2005,6-7). through the lens of nostalgia as illustrared through the successful and massive
Nosralgia. Food and Bdonging: Ecuadorians in New York Ciry
235
234 Maria Arrielia Vireri

ApPADURA!, Arjun. "Sovereignity wirhour Terrirorialiry: Notes for a Posmarional


parricipation (approximately 500 people) ar rhe multimedia installation Al
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Belonging, within the analysis presented, considers idenriry as a plural, ARCHETTI, Eduardo. Guinea Pig): Food, Symbol and Conflict of Knowledg in Ecuador.
c\osely connected with a fluid space where borh imagined and physical bor- Oxford: Berg 1997. .
ders permeate new imaginings thar go beyond traditional and state defini- BHABHA, Horni. Tbe Location of Culture. New York: Rourledge 1994.
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does render alrernarive possibiliries for rhe forging of rransnarional Ecuadori- Universiry Press 1977.
an idenrities in the NYC diaspora where food consritutes a never-linear con- CAMACHO, Gloria, and Karrya HERNNDEZ, eds. Miradas tramnacionales: Visiones de

tinuum? la migracin ecuafOnana desde Espaa y Ecuador. Quito: CEPLAES 2008.


CANT, Lionel. Tbe Sexuality of Migration: Borda Crossings and Mexican Immigrant
Some final considerarions as we conrinue building a thread rhat further
Men. New York: New York Universiry Press 2009. Inrersecrions.
c~nnect.s diaspora, ~~migrarion, food, nostalgia and belonging, are rhe way
CONNERTON, Paul. Hou/ Socieiies Remember. Cambridge: Cambridge Universiry
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DE GENOVA, Nicholas P. "Migranr 'Illegaliry' and Deporrabilicy in Everyday Life."
t~eless mobile, as it is filled and re-filled wirh renewed "structures of feeling"
Annual Reoieio of Anthropology, 31 (2002): 419-47.
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tlm: as ir confronts any linear reading of belonging. All the same, we are
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where people inhabit a mulripliciry of transnational borders, idenrities, Emigracion from Ecuador ar a Crossroads." Paper presenred ar [he XXIlI Inrer-

spaces and strucrure.s ~ighr enable a rheorerical and methodological cririque nacional Congress of the Lacin American Srudies Associarion. LASA. Washing-
t~at furthers porenrial inrervenrions relared to citizenship. Doing so through ton, D.C. 6 Sep. 2001.
HERRERA, Gioconda, ed. La migracin ecuatoriana: Tranmaciorralismo, redes e identi-
different means such as rhe use of art and popular culture could further
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a venue to reflecr upon rhese rnatrers of imporrance.
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HOWES, David, eds. Tbe Varieties ofSerrsory Experience: A Sourcebook in tbe Antbro-
p%gy of tbe Senses. Toronto: Universicy ofToronro Press 1991.
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migracin." PhD Disserta[ion. Berlin 2010.
7 Man~ Eeuadorians married with Colombian/Mexiean/Salvadoreans have starred (Q sell ONG, Aihwa. Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics ofTranmationaliry. Durham:
and advertise Eeuadorian/Mexiean food and in many of rhese restaurants (locared in Roo-
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sevelr Avenue) [he menu includes a11chis culinary fusiono
234 Maria ~e1ia Vireri Nostalgia. Food and Belonging: Ecuadorians in New YorkCiry 235

parriciparion (approximarely 500 people) at the multimedia installariori Al ApPADURA!, Arjun. "Sovereigniry wirhour Terrirorialiry: Notes for a Posmarional
Locro Lado. Geography." Tbe Antbropology of Spac and Place: Locating Culture. Ed. Serha M.
Belonging, wirhin the analysis presenred, considers identiry as a plural, Low and Denise Lawrence-Ziga. New York: Blackwell 2003. 337-50.
closely connecred wirh a fluid space where borh imagined and physical bor- ARCHETTI, Eduardo. Guinea Pigs: Food, Symbol and Conflict o/ 'Knoioledg in Ecuador.
Oxford: Berg 1997. .
ders permeate new imaginings thar go beyond tradirional and state defini-
BHABHA, Homi. Tbe Location of Culrure. New York: Rourledge 1994.
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BOURDIEU, Pierre. Outline of a Tbeory ofPractice. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge
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an identiries in rhe NYe diaspora where food consritures a never-linear con- CAMACHO, Gloria, and Karrya HERNNDEZ, eds. Miradas transnacionales: Visiones de
rinuum,"
la migracin ecuatoriana desde Espaa y Ecuador. Quiro: CEPLAES 2008.
Some final considerations as we coririnue building a rhread that further CANT, Lionel. The Sexuality o/ Migration: Border Crossings and Mexican Immigrant
c~nnec~s diaspora, ~~migration, food, nostalgia and belonging, are rhe way Men. New York: New York Universiry Press 2009. Inrersecrions.
diasporic comm ~nlt1es. cons~~uct stories rhar push the boundaries of place CONNERTON, Paul. How Societies Rernember. Cambridge: Cambridge Universiry
and space. Thar mil picture btought forward by Franklin which is never- Press 1989.
theless mobile, as ir is filled and re-filled with renewed "srrucrures of feeli " DE GENOVA, Nicholas P. "Migranr 'Illegaliry' and Deporrabiliry in Everyday Life."
.
t~lggere.
d bvy food i . .
food m rhis discussion, speaks both ro the homeland at the same
mg Annual Review of Anihropotogy. 31 (2002): 419-47.
tJm~ as rt confronrs any linear reading of belonging. All the same, we are FISCHLER, Claude. "Food, Sdf and Idenriry." Social Science Informaron, 27 (I98S):

remlflde~ by Bhabha (I994, 22) rhar nor all negotiarions are the same, as 275-92.
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GRNENFELDER-ELLIKER, Barbara. "Exclusin ro rhe Poinr of Atrririon: Gendered
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spaces and structure.s n:ight ena~le a rheorerical and methodological critique national Congress of rhe Larin American Studies Associarion. LASA. Washing-
t~at furrhers porenrial intervennons relared to citizenship. Doing so through ron, D.C. 6 Sep. 2001.
differen t means such as rhe use of arr and popular culrure could furrher HERRERA, Gioconda, ed. La migracin ecuatoriana: '[ransnacionalismo, redes e identi-
engage rhese communities in more horizontal dialogues while also providing dades. Quiro: FLACSO Ecuador 2005. Serie Foro.
a venue to reflecr upon these rnatters of imporrance. HOLTZMAN, Jon. "Food and Memory." Annual Reoieu/ o/ 'Antbropology. 35 (2006):
361-78.
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.. ANTHIAS, Floya. "Inrersecrionaliry, Belonging and Translocarional Posirionaliry:


KYLE, David. Transnational Peasants: Migration, Netu/orks and Etbnicity in Andean
Ecuador. Balrirnore: The John Hopkins Universiry Press 2000.
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Food, 7 (2010). Web. 1 Feb. 2011. <h((p://aofrevlIes.org/index6642.hrml>.
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Moscoso. Mara Fernanda. "Biografa para uso de los pjaros, memoria, infancia y

7 Man~ Ecuadorians married wirh Colombian/Mexican/Salvadoreans have srarted ro sell migracin." PhD Dissertarion. Berlin 2010.
and advertise Ecuadorian/Mexican food and in many of rhese resrauranrs (locared in Roo- ONG, Aihwa. Flexible Citizensbip: The Cultural Logics olTranmatonality. Durham:
sevelr Avenue) rhe menu includes all chis culinary fusiono Duke Universiry Press 1999.
236 Maria AmeliaVireri

PRIBllSKY, jason. La cbulla vida: Gender, Migration, and th Family in Andean CONTESTED PRACTICES OF BELONGING:
Ecuador and New York City. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press 2007. Gender
SOCIAL MOBILITY, SPATIAL IDENTITY
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ABSTRACT
Press 1989.
Tbis article explores contested practices o/ belonging in tbe context o/ the touristifica-
STEWART,Karhleen. "Nosralgia - a Polernic." Cultural Antbropology. 3.3 (1988):
tion o/ the Day o/ the Dead in Mida, Oaxaca, Mexico. 1 conceiue o/ befonging not
227-4l.
only as a sentiment and emotional attacbment but rather inuestigate the social prac-
STOllER, Paul. Embodying Colonial Memories: Spirit Possession, Pou/er and tbe Hauka
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in WestAfrica. New York: Routledge 1995.
place emphasis on the spatial and representational dimensions o/ what belonging con-
SlJITON, David. Remembrance o/ Repasts: An Antbropology o/ Food and Memory. New
stitutes and explore tbe ways they are modified by local actors. 1 also stresstbe political
York: Berg 200 l.
dimension belonging entails by revealing tbe range o/ interests that become apparent
The Varieties o/ Sensory Experience: A Sourcebook in the Anthropology o/ tbe Senses.
when practices o/ belonging are contested. 1 argue that this approach is particularly
Toronto: Universiry ofToronto Press 1991. Amhropological horizons.
releuant in the context o/ 'globalisation and social fragmentation, u/hen belonging ir
VALENTINE,Gill, "Eating in: Horne, Consumption and Identiry," The Sociological
experienced, negotiated and articulated in neu/ contexts.
Review, 47 (1999): 491-524.
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Cirizenship in Washington, D.C. and San Salvador, El Salvador." Out of Place:
Interrogating Silences in Queernmraciality. Ed. Adi Kuntsman and Esperanza INTRODUCTION
Miyake. York: Raw Nerve Books Lrd 2008a. 241-64.
- "'Queer no me da': Traduciendo fronteras sexuales y raciales en San Salvador y The Roman Catholic holiday All Souls Day/All Saints Day (first of Novern-
Washington D.C." Estudios sobre Sexualidades en Amrica Latina. Ed. Kathya ber) is one of Mexico's mosr renowned fiestas and promoted widely. The
Araujo and Mercedes Prieto. Quito: FLACSO 2008b. 91-108. politically motivated representarions of dearh and the deceased of nineteenth
- "Seeking a Rdevant 'Queerness': Sexual, Racial and Nationalist Negoriarions of century cartoonist Jos Guadalupe Posada became idiosyncraric for Mexico
Identity amongst the 'Latino/a' Immigrant Community in Washington, D.C." and find roday expression in the calaveras, skulls and skelerons, ofren
PhD disserrarion. Washington 2008c. adorned wirh sugar, sold in myriad variarions on me Day of the Dead (Bran-
VITERI, Mara Amelia, and Aaron TOBlER. Shifting Positionalities: The Local and
des 1998). This celebrarion shows Mexicans' relarionships to dearh thar
lnternational Geo-politics of Surueillance and Policing. Newcastle upon Tyne:
became intertwined wirh norions of national identity (Lornnitz-Adler 2005).
Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2009.
In 2008, rhis fiesta was inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of the
WATSON, James L. The Cultural Politics o/ Food and Eating: A Reader. Oxford;
Malden: BlackweJl 2005. BlackweJl readers in anrhropology 8. Intangible Cultural Herirage ofHumanity (cf Unesco 2008). In the context
YUVAl-DAVIS, Nira. Human Security and the Gendered Politics o/ Belonging 2007. of Mexican migrarion, the da de los muertos, also called todos santos, has been
Web. 15 Feb, 2011. <hnp:!/www2.warwick.ac.uk/faclsoclsociologylrswlresearch_ rranslocalised and rurned inro a rransnarional social field, linking together
cenrres/genderlnews/pastevents/symposium/yuval/>. communiries of migrarion and origin (Burrell 2005). In rhis vein, ir is con-
sidered a field where belonging is enacred and reinforced across inrernational
borders, While rhis is also rhe case in Mida, a tourist rown locared in the

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