Archive for the ‘Ethnography’ Category

Santo Tomas Jalieza WordP book cover.jpg

Santo Tomás Jalieza, Oaxaca, Mexico: An ethnographic study. 2019. San Francisco: Blurb, Inc. [Click on title above, and view the entire book by clicking on Preview.

120 pages, 83 photos. Includes maps, plans, and tables. Portrait: 10×8 inches. Available from Blurb, Inc. in paperback, hardback, and image wrap.

For this edition, the thesis manuscript in the library of the Universidad de las Américas has been edited, but the original findings have not been changed, photos were digitized, and current maps and illustrations updated. Photos selected for this book are from the Desmond Collection in the photo archive of the Peabody Museum, Harvard University.


It was during my second year of graduate studies in anthropology at the Universidad de las Américas in Cholula, Mexico that I began to plan fieldwork for my master’s thesis. I had come to the university in 1970 to study the ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica and learn archaeology, but the chairman of the department of anthropology was a cultural anthropologist, and he had other ideas for my thesis.

His plan was that I should carry out an ethnographic study of a small farming community in one of the valleys south of Oaxaca City rather than an archaeological study. So, in 1973 research began with the help of my family and the welcoming people of Santo Tomás that lasted around four months, and resulted in this ethnographic study.

The ethnography includes an accumulation of considerable descriptive material useful for gaining a basic understanding of village life, but the most important finding was that after decades of debate and compromise a weaving cooperative was established in the village. The process of founding the cooperative led to the practice of resolving social and economic conflict by discussion, debate, and compromise rather than by the violence that is said to have been endemic in the area until around the mid-20th century.

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