Weaving: The Mixtec Palm Hat from Anthropological and Design Perspectives

By Mercedes Martínez González.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 15, 2016 $US5.00

Objects can be studied from different points of view, but in design anthropology one point of interest is an object’s life story. This knowledge allows us to determine the relationship between humans and objects, from its creation until its destruction. The object provides elements of analysis that could not be studied in other contexts or by other methods. The life story of palm objects encompasses matters of communal living, exchange, equality, social differences, human exploitation, gender, and age and describes the relationship between the anthropologist and the community. At the same time, this life story represents shared wishes, deceptions, and past and future hopes and describes the techniques, materials, tools, and processes used to create palm objects. In effect, the life story details the cultural identity of the people who produce these objects. Through qualitative research this paper details the life story of palm and polypropylene objects in a Mixtec community located in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, where the population has woven palm since the foundation of the town. In addition, the paper calculates the human exploitation inherent in these industries through the use of the “homoindicators” technique.

Keywords: Life Story, Palm Objects, Design Anthropology, Homoindicators, Mixteca

The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context, Volume 12, Issue 2, June 2016, pp.17-29. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 15, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 925.063KB)).

Mercedes Martínez González

Professor, Art and Design, Morelia, Anthropology Research Institute (Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico