Accepted paper:

Landscape and the nature of the everyday state: The construction of the Lake Patzcuaro regional landscape during the post-revolutionary period (1920-1940), in Central West México.

Authors:

Jahzeel Aguilera-Lara (University of Nottingham)

Paper short abstract:

This paper takes a cultural approach to the question of the everyday state drawing on the insights of cultural and historical geography and cultural history. It examines the cultural construction of the Lake Pátzcuaro landscape in Central West México during the post-revolutionary period (1920-1940).

Paper long abstract:

This paper takes a cultural approach to the question of the everyday state drawing on the insights of cultural and historical geography and cultural history. From this point of view, the 'nature' of the everyday state is manifested in the transformation of social experience and identities within specific historical contexts. Cultural geography and anthropology share not only a common history but also an interest in questions of culture and identity. Within cultural geography, questions of culture, space and power have been examined through the study of landscape. My research studies the construction of the Lake Pátzcuaro landscape during the post-revolutionary period, characterised by the emergence of a strong-centralised state and the development of national identity. I examine how particular forms of relating to Lake Patzcuaro emerged and how they defined its character. Discourses about Lake Patzcuaro circulated through various material supports. Museums and exhibitions displayed Lake Patzcuaro's expressive culture as a symbol of authenticity, which was also incorporated into avant-garde theatre, framing it as modern. The state cultural programme was depicted through murals, setting its development in the landscape. New social and cultural identities were also promoted through school open-air theatre performances. Lastly, limnological research established ideas about Lake Pátzcuaro's origin and nature, shaping people's relationship with the non-human. Power relations were sustained and contested through everyday practices, acquiring a concrete existence. Scientific discourses about nature were also shaped in their encounter with the non-human world. As a result, both nature and culture in Lake Patzcuaro were transformed.

panel B02
Geographies and anthropologies of the state: places, persons and nonhumans