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La Casa de Cultura

La Casa de Cultura

Norteño Institutions Transform Public Space

Chapter:
(p.133) 4 La Casa de Cultura
Source:
The Remittance Landscape
Author(s):
Sarah Lynn Lopez
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226202952.003.0005

This chapter explores how remittances have altered existing power structures in rural Mexico by introducing new resources for financing public infrastructure. In some cases, migrant renovations of the main plaza (or jardín) have challenged the authority of the church as the historic center of development. This is illustrated by the cultural center in San Juan de Amula, which introduces a new set of cultural norms to a small community by privatizing the once free, outdoor, and communal space of town fiestas and imposing a formal social program on a community organized around unwritten social codes. Migrant managers of the Mexican cultural center enforce regulations for use associated with public spaces in the U.S. These new, contested forms of public space contrast with long-standing social hierarchies based on compadrazgo or extended familial networks in emigrant villages.

Keywords:   public space, remittances, plaza, cultural center, privatizing, compadrazgo

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