The University of Arizona

Anthropologist as Anti-Christ: Positioning and Reciprocity in San Miguel Acatán, Guatemala

Timothy B. Jafek

Abstract


The accusation by some villagers that I was an Anti-Christ provides an opportunity to reflect on the production of anthropological knowledge. The production of knowledge by anthropologists must not only take into account the personal characteristics of the anthropologist but also the ways in which the culture the anthropologist studies classifies that anthropologist, thereby making available to him or her certain ways of knowing. I my case, as an unmarried man with no visible means of economic support, I appeared similar to others, like Earthlords, and priests, who offered villagers Faustian bargains. The deals' dangers lay in the fact that the exchanges occurred outside of the moral and social frameworks which undergird the community. Thus, their accusation of me as antithetical to the community opens an opportunity to consider the nature of that community.

Keywords


San Miguel Acatan. Guatemala, Maya, reciprocity, community, production of knowledge

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