To Build a Wall: Imaginaries of Identity in Yucatan, Mexico


Gabriela Vargas-Cetina and Steffan Igor Ayora-Díaz Autonomous University of Yucatan

To Build a Wall: Imaginaries of Identity in Yucatan, Mexico

Abstract: Here we consider ideas related to walls, roads, bridges, doors and tunnels and the materialities they name as a general frame of reference, to reflect on the manifold relations between imagined insides and outsides generally implied when discussing the wall already splitting Mexico and the US, but also regarding Yucatecan identity. We explain the ways in which Yucatecans have often seen themselves as different from “Mexicans” and why. Yucatecans have sometimes expressed the wish to build a wall around the Yucatan peninsula. We propose that such a wish is based on an erroneous perception of Yucatecans as intrinsically better people than non-Yucatecans, upholding ideals of “peacefulness” and “goodness,” and on the rhetorical inclusion of all inhabitants of the Yucatan peninsula within an imagined single “Yucatan.”  Yet the wished-for Yucatecan unity is impeded by the current political and identity divisions within the Yucatan peninsula, which comprises three different states, each with its own economy, specific regional identities, and its own internal problems. We believe that to make Yucatan more inclusive, Yucatecans ought to start imagining more and better roads and bridges. 

Keywords: Yucatan-Mexico relations, history, space, Yucatan, the border


Yucatan-Mexico relations; history; space; Yucatan; the border

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Published : 2018-06-30

Vargas-CetinaG., & Ayora-DíazS. (2018). To Build a Wall: Imaginaries of Identity in Yucatan, Mexico. Review of International American Studies, 11(1). Retrieved from

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina
Autonomous University of Yucatan Mexico  Mexico

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina (PhD McGill 1994) is a Researcher and Professor of Anthropology at the Autonomous University of Yucatan. Her recent book Beautiful Politics of Music: Trova in Yucatan, Mexico (U of Alabama Press, 2017) is an ethnography of Yucatecan trova music, through the lens of regional and local politics. Her current work deals with music, technology and performance.

Steffan Igor Ayora-Díaz 
Autonomous University of Yucatan Mexico  Mexico

Steffan Igor Ayora-Diaz (PhD McGill 1993) is a Researcher and Professor of Anthropology at the Autonomous University of Yucatan. His book Foodscapes, Foodfields, and Identities in Yucatan (Bherghan 2012) looks at the food, identity, history and politics in Yucatan, Mexico. He currently studies the importance of technology, taste and emotions as they relate to food.

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