'Really Maya?' - The precarious practice of propagating indigenous identity on the market of Antigua, Guatemala
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This research demonstrates how ideas and expectations surrounding Maya identity and authenticity are negotiated between tourists and Maya vendors in the marketplace of Antigua, Guatemala. Since the market is one of the main places where tourists and Maya vendors meet, it is a fruitful location to analyze the negotiation of imaginaries surrounding Maya identity and authenticity . The presence of tourists in Antigua impacts Mayas perceptions of their own identity, since identity (re)construction takes place in a dialectic process between identity ascription by the self and by the Other . Ideas surrounding indigenous identity and authenticity can be conveyed through cultural artefacts, personal encounters between tourists and vendors, and the presentation of Maya identity by vendors. Since cultural artefacts are commoditized and modified according to tourists expectations, tourists question vendors motives to express their Maya identity and thereby their authenticity . However, the notion of authenticity does not refer necessarily to the dichotomy between what is authentic and what is not, but consists of different interpretations and perceptions which are (re)shaped in social practice. There is thus a precarious line between the propagation of indigenous identity and authenticity as contributing to tourist experiences of encountering indigenous identity, and on the other side making tourists doubt about the authenticity of the indigenous identity of vendors.