Charlotta Widmark: "Urban inequalities and wedding practices"

  • Date: –12:00
  • Location: Engelska parken - Eng3-2028; Campus Gotland (video)
  • Organiser: Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology
  • Contact person: Susann Baez Ullberg, Don Kulick
  • Seminarium

The Research Seminar in Cultural Anthropology

Charlotta Widmark, Senior Lecturer, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Uppsala University: "Urban inequalities and wedding practices. Grappling with the socio-economic structure in the Morales’ era."

In this presentation I will focus on changes in the way social hierarchies are expressed and dealt with in La Paz, Bolivia, in a 20-years-perspective, through the lens of wedding practices. In Bolivia class and ethnicity are interlaced and conflated. 14 years of political governance by Movimiento al Socialismo and Evo Morales in charge as President, has not only changed the economic conditions of large groups of people but also influenced the racist structure. In relation to the wedding celebration, practices and positions are tried out in new ways. The ceremony makes a statement of the couple’s position and capacity to handle and understand changing social hierarchies. For the group I studied in the 1990s, wedding practices were most important for the strengthening of the urban community of Aymara-speakers. But, in the 2020s, is the wedding no longer a family matter, an arena to make social capital work through reciprocity, but rather the bride’s individual project for upward mobility? Following Ortner (2006) class culture can be seen as a set of discourses and practices embodying the ambivalence of upward mobility or the anxiety of downward mobility. So, people like my protagonist, Clementina, look for upward mobility and in so doing both uphold and break with the hierarchy.