Artesania, mobility and the crafting of indigenous identities among Purhépechan women in Mexico

Lise Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This article examines the history of women's craft commercialization in the Purhépecha region of Mexico, drawing on women's life stories collected in the community of Cherán. In the late 1960s, in response to deepening economic crisis, women began to periodically leave the community in order to commercialize embroidered linens historically destined for local consumption. This process redrew the spatiality of women's lives, reworking local understandings of femininity and indigeneity. First, women artisans' new mobility created struggles over femininity within the community as they transgressed gendered distinctions between public and private that marked the home as women's proper place. Second, their historically unprecedented and repeated interactions with non-indigenous Mexican society during these early commercialization journeys (experiences that included discrimination and resistance) shifted women's understandings of indigeneity and their community's "place" within Mexican society. Rather than seeing these two dynamics as separate, a Lefebvrian approach to the production and coding of space reveals the layering of racialized and gendered spatialities in the context of capitalist transformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-77
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Latin American Geography
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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