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University of Pittsburgh- Of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education

Tourism, Tradition, and Acculturation: Weekendismo in a Mexican Village Author(s): Theron A. Nunez, Jr. Source: Ethnology, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Jul., 1963), pp. 347-352 Published by: University of Pittsburgh- Of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education Stable URL: . Accessed: 06/04/2011 09:32
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Tradition, Weekendismo in

and a

Acculturation: Mexican Theron A. Village Nunez, Jr. at Berkeley


of California

In recent years anthropologists have tended to examine rural-urban acculturation from two points of view. patterns Some, primarily such as Lewis (1959) and Little (19SS, 1962), have focused upon the in changed forms of behavior that characterize peasant immigrants urban centers, while others, e.g., Fallers (1954) and Srinivas (1956), have been concerned with the filtering down or diffusion of urban cultural forms to the village level. In this paper I suggest an additional context for the study of rural-urban contact and acculturation. In newly industrializing urban classes, patterns of countries, with the emergence of well-to-do leisure use typical of Western European societies begin to develop. A frequent pattern of leisure use is tourism, and one of its forms that results in contact with rural communities may be called, in Spanish, I suggest that tourism may be studied and understood weekendismo. within the general framework of acculturation theory; for example, the urban tourists of as representing a "donor" may be thought culture, while the host population may be viewed as a "recipient" culture. and analy? However, certain special problems of description sis present themselves. The "profile" of urban life presented by tourists to a rural host community is a distorted one and is not clearly understood The anthropologist must draw the by the peasant. tourist somewhat and impressionistically, al? profile subjectively and urban class structure though data from studies of urbanization are invaluable. of a weekending, urban leisure What are some of the consequences class in a Mexican peasant village? Cajititlan, Jalisco, is a typical highland Mexico mestizo village, whose 1,800 inhabitants live along the shore of a small and picturesque lake 32 kilometers from Guadalajara, the second largest city of It is primarily an agricultural Mexico. community, dependent upon the growing of corn and beans for subsistence and upon a few cash in irrigated plots along chilis and tomatoes?planted crops?mainly the lake shore. Fishing and animal husbandry occupy a few families. the village has enjoyed a high degree of political isola? Traditionally under the jurisdiction tion and autonomy, although it is technically of the cabecera of the municipio (county seat) some twenty kilometers 347



An elected village council, headed by an unpaid mayor, forms away. not sought after, the local government; public offices are normally nor do they carry much prestige. Social control is a function of the church and public opinion rather than of police or political authority. ever been one. There is no periodic market, nor has there apparently social organization is the The most striking feature of Cajititlan division of the village into two equal and rival barrios, a division that function has no current religious (nor can any be remembered) The barrios tend to and has no basis in class or wealth distinctions. is hereditary. and membership The establishment be endogamous, of the ejido system of land distribution during the agrarian reforms of the 1920s marked a diminution of overt and violent conflict between and distribution of ejido lands prompthe barrios, in that acquisition ted a degree of village unity and cooperation. As with much of the state of Jalisco, Cajititlan is a male-oriented society, where most aspects of public life are open only to men and subordinate status. Pri? to extremely where women are relegated form what of the ideal male role in this community mary components or "cult of masculinity," has been called the machismo syndrome the most important symbols of which are the horse, the pistol, and Blood feuds are common, and, skill in their use as a man of action. most adult males own pistols and many appear in public traditionally, armed. then an Indian settle? Spanish conquistadores entered Cajititlan, the European acculturation of the in March, 1530, beginning ment, and revolution wars of independence The Mexican Cajititl6nces. it profited by the agrarian largely passed the village by, although In 1960, a new the revolutionary reforms that followed fighting. and period tourists invaded of acculturation began; conquest immediate of this second The numerous consequences Cajititlan. conquest have been felt most acutely in the areas of political authority, and values. social organization, economies, interested in land specuIn 1959 two Guadalajara businessmen, of a road into Cajititlan. began to promote the construction lation, the village, purchased tracts of lake-shore They "discovered" prop? that the construction of a erty, and persuaded the state government road and subsequent of the natural beauty of the area exploitation would enhance the state's tourist resources. has a long history of casual contact with the city of Cajititlan to which one traveled by horse or burro or on foot. Guadalajara, bus service is today available to the Cajititlences. Neverthe? Daily less, most previous contact with this urban center has been confined to slum and market areas. Face-to-face contact with Guadalajaran a new profile of urban life into weekend tourists in Cajititlan brings of the villager. the consciousness The "tourists" are, in the main, a number However, wealthy middle and upper class Guadalajarans. in 1962 for the annual of Americans visited the community early fiesta, and one American couple has purchased a lake-front building site.



Construction of the new graded vehicular road, which brings the tourists to Cajititlan, was completed in 1960 and linked the village to the well-traveled route between Guadalajara and the Lake Chapala resort area. From the outset weekend visitors were able to enjoy the resort possibilities of the village, for one of the initial promotors of the road had constructed seven motel units, with water sports the lake shore. These units, known as Los Bungalos, facilities, along were ready for occupancy of the road. upon the completion Most tourists drive to Cajititlan on a Saturday or Sunday morning to spend the day picnicking, swimming, boating, and waterThe wealthier visitors have purchased lake-front skiing. plots, have built rather elaborate existing structures houses, or have remodeled in an urban fashion. and running They have introduced plumbing water to the community, although these facilities are confined to their own use. Eight new houses have been built since the opening of the new road, and four traditional houses have been leased or purchased for remodeling. The visitors from Guadalajara bring with them the paraphernalia of a twentieth and water skies, outcentury leisure class: speedboats door barbecue and transistor radios, beach umbrellas equipment and brief bathing suits, Mercedes automobiles and uniformed servcan buy. ants?whatever This profile of urban culture is so money remote from the experience of the Cajititlan peasant that many of the and the section of the villagers think that the tourists are Americans, and build houses is now called village where the tourists congregate Barrio Americano. of the urban and peasant Such is the discontinuity ways of life. The new image of urban Mexican life presented to the people of is one of wealth and presumably limitless leisure, char? Cajititlan acteristics with which they, as peasant Mexicans, cannot identify. They seem unaware that the profile of urban culture to which they and represents are now exposed is extremely selective weekend, leisure activity. The average tourist, for his part, does not participate in or understand The relationship be? the daily life of the village. tween the urban tourist and his village hosts is primarily economic. evident in this relation? Social-class behavior, however, is frequently with the villager relegated to a lower class vis-ci-vis the tourist. ship, The villager is almost always addressed by the visitor in the familiar or It might be said that a temporary verb forms. second-person the interaction of characterizes transient relationship patron-client tourists and villagers. a highly placed of the road into Cajititlan, Upon the completion state official took an active interest in the internal affairs of the village as a tourist of newly accessible and in the development Cajititlan to be a frequent visitor and innovator, He has continued resource. to make the village more certain "reforms," designed instituting These reforms, however, from the tourist point of view. appealing altered local culture patterns. have dramatically reform was the assignment and far-reaching The most important

350 to the


of three rural police, called rurales, directly re? community The heavily armed rurales con? sponsible to the state government. stitute the first effective law enforcement has known in Cajititlan modern times, and two measures taken by them have struck at the core of the male-oriented The rurales have, on orders value system. from the state, enforced the abolition of horse racing. This was a traditional pastime and a competitive expression of a masculine skill, which was not infrequently The by violent disputes. accompanied a community rurales have also successfully where less de-pistolized than a year ago it was not uncommon for adult males to wear pistols to church. where feuding or any serious dispute might result in Cajititlan, gun play, annually recorded in the delegacion (city hall) two or three deaths from fire arms. Since the arrival of the rurales in January, no such deaths have occurred. Reaction to the new law and 1962, order is mixed: older family heads tend to welcome the security of armed authority, while the younger men tend to feel that their rights ?to race horses, to dispute bets, to fire off a magazine of expensive ammunition in conspicuous display, to kill and be killed for a point of honor?are is directed against Resentment being infringed upon. the rurales themselves and not against the reason for their presence, tourism. Other measures initiated by the state government, although less behavior. Some of these measures are striking, restrict traditional the prohibition of hunting with arms in the nearby hills, the prohibition of livestock in the streets, an order against stray dogs (strays are shot by the rurales), jailing as a punishment for drunkenness and for urinating in the streets, the abolition of the wearing of the tradi? tional white cotton trousers (called calzones) on the grounds that All of these measures were they are underwear and hence indecent. undertaken and enforced unilaterally with the idea that the village would be more suitable and safer for tourists. The members of the were not consulted. community they have accepted Nevertheless, these edicts thus far with only verbal reaction?in much the same have traditionally bowed to outside way that peasants authority. It should be noted, in emphasizing the relationship between the ad? vent of outside police authority and tourism, that the three-man force of rurales is augmented on weekends and fiesta days. The Cajititldnces have not, however, failed to respond in a posi? tive way to the economic opportunities presented them by tourism. In the brief period since the road was completed, two beer pavilions have been constructed on the lake shore, and a combination inn and restaurant has come into existence. Large parcels of lake-front of cash garden crops, have land, normally used for the production been sold as building sites. One member of the community has set himself up as a real estate broker, soliciting bids on locally owned from weekend visitors and charging a 23^ per cent comproperty mission on any property sold. The plaza has taken on a market as local merchants stock larger quanduring weekends atmosphere



tities than usual of such items as cigarettes, beer, soft drinks, fruits, and vegetables. Butchers display in the plaza more fresh meat than and barbecued cracklings formerly and sell cooked-on-the-spot goat to the hungry tourists. Local fishermen turn their canoes into sightof the visitors, while the village seeing craft for the convenience musicians serenade picnicking groups. Parking space for automobiles is rented by owners of desirable lake-front swimming and picnic sites. Increased and new forms of commercial activity indicate an incipient local market economy and the advent of the entrepreneur as a new and important role. in anthro? That change involves conflict is almost axiomatic Hostilities between the two rival barrios, relatively dormant pology. and the con? since the late 1920s, have recently become intensified, trol of political power by one or the other barrio has become a matter of utmost concern. A series of unprecedented actions has occurred since the advent of tourism. of They have involved the resignation numerous political meetings and petitions, mayors, special elections, of fraud against disputes over the operation of the ejido, accusation and the like. with regard to these village officials, Partisanship issues has been structured along barrio lines. political Cajititlan had three mayors in a period of as many months, immediately follow? The mayor usually serves a one-year ing the arrival of the rurales. term. These conflicts have resulted in a general breakdown of village level cooperation. I suggest at least two efficient causes for this intensification of causes are undoubtedly and conflict, although hostility multiple operative. of the (1) The men of Cajititlan, deprived by outside authority have and competition, traditional forms of masculine self-expression of barrio hostility a functional found in the revival and intensification Those aspects of urban culture to which they are exposed, equivalent. which might serve as functional are at this juncture equivalents, unobtainable. that political (2) There is a growing awareness power on the has been temporarily the fact that local autonomy local level?despite that power to benefit enable the group holding displaced?might in some way from the increased economic activity brought materially about by tourism. As noted earlier, political office was not sought after and held at best, little prestige. The holding of political office was considered, to be assumed once during a man's lifetime. a duty or obligation comreasons an existing structural for functional Now, however, ponent of the society has taken on new importance. concerned here with the effects Though I have been specifically com? urban tourists and tourism in a mestizo peasant of Mexican indicated. It may be are nevertheless munity, some generalizations assumed that, as urban populations expand in response to indusand economic growth, segments of the urban population trialization in appropriate rural and resort seek recreation will increasingly



It is not unlikely, therefore, that a potential tourist environments. to the larger of its possible economic resort, because importance outside financial interests society, will attract to the host community and political tourism and its effects in a authority. Obviously, understood without reference to village society cannot be adequately the socio-economic structure of the larger society of which it is a part. of this phenomenon of will proceed as understanding Understanding urban populations?from the nature of industrializing which the to advance. tourist profile must be drawn?continues I hope to have demonstrated (1) that tourism may bring about rapid and dramatic changes in the loci of authority, land-use patterns, value systems, and portions of an economy; (2) that it is a legitimate and necessary area of culture change research; and (3) that the study of tourism may provide another laboratory situation for the testing of acculturation theory. Certainly the tourist is today more ubiquitous than the missionary, the technical assistance agent, or the trader, all of whom have been considered as agents of diffusion and accultura? tion. In the newly developing of today's world, when the countries the formal apparatus of the state) takes larger society (particularly in previously interest for overlooked rural communities, special whatever or nationalism?the anthro? reason?tourism, nativism, should be alert to the consequences. Redfield (1956: 68) pologist has written: "The culture of a peasant community . . . is not autono? mous. It is an aspect or dimension of the civilization of which it is a The culture of peasant Cajititlan has certainly and quickly part." felt the impact of industrializing Mexico the medium of through weekendismo. NOTE 1. This paper was read, in a similar form, at the 1962 annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association. The data upon which it is based were collected during a field trip to the community of Cajititlan, Jalisco, lasting from July, 1961, to August, 1962, financed through a grant from the National Science Foundation. I am indebted to Prof. George M. Foster for direction and encouragement during the course of the field work and for criticism of this paper. I alone, however, am responsible for the collection and interpretation of the data. BIBLIOGRAPHY Fallers, L. A. 1954. A Note on the "Trickle Effect." Public Opinion Quarterly 18: 314-321. Lewis, O. 1959. The Culture of the Vecindad in Mexico City: Two Case Studies. Actas del XXXIII Congresso Internacional de Americanistas 1: 387-402. Little, K. 1955. Structural Changes in the Sierra Leone Protectorate. Africa 25:217-233. 1962. Some Traditionally Based Forms of Mutual Aid in West African Urbanization. Ethnology 1: 197-211. Redfield, R. 1956. Peasant Society and Culture: An Anthropological Approach to Civilization. Chicago. Srinivas, M. H. 1956. A Note on Sanskritization and Westernization. Far Eastern Quarterly 15:481-496.