Gardner, Jeffrey Adrian
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Many indigenous peoples in Latin America span state borders, which are imposed over what were initially territories that belonged to the indigenous. Little research, however, has focused on such indigenous "cross-border nations." How do indigenous peoples who span state borders construct collective identities in relation to those borders? This thesis addresses how the Mam, an indigenous people spanning the Guatemala-Mexico border, construct collective identities. In particular, I focus on whether ordinary Mames in Guatemala discursively tie themselves to the Mam in Mexico, and how they define different boundaries of collectivity. Moreover, I explain how the Mam define individual belonging to the collective. I argue the Mam construct collective identities in relational contexts by weaving in and out of rigid and more flexible imaginings of indigenous collective identity. These dynamic identities may challenge nation-state reifications and they may also complicate static understanding of identity.