Maya women contest online narratives in action: creating equality through horizontal communication

Conference keynote


Miralles Terán De Wilkin, M. 2021. Maya women contest online narratives in action: creating equality through horizontal communication.
AuthorsMiralles Terán De Wilkin, M.
TypeConference keynote
Description

Feminist Maya women have been contesting the narrative imposed by the state, social prejudices and media-imposed perceptions in contemporary Guatemala, reclaiming their place in society. This has been documented from an indigenous perspective (Chirix, 2008; Hernández-Castillo, 2010; Tzul Tzul, 2018; Cumes, 2019). In the long thread of history the indigenous population of Guatemala has resisted colonial imposition through the use of multiple strategies of adaptation, sometimes utilising elements of the dominant culture. In this case the creation of an online/virtual place in social media to defend and fight for their rights during the Covid-19 pandemic.

By studying the case of the Guatemalan National Midwives Movement from a decolonial perspective and analysing the online development of: horizontal communication theory (Beltrán, 1979), in exceptional pandemic circumstances, will allow us to uncover: how indigenous women define their identity in relation to their knowledge, world-views and philosophies in their own voices, beyond any type of discrimination social or economic. This will enable a better understanding of how their communal organisational and communication strategies differ from Western individualism.

However, social media cannot be fully representative of the indigenous midwives’ culture. The process of conveying meanings by words in a language that it is not your own and in contested media, such as an online/virtual place, certainly implies a process of surrendering. As Rivera Cusicanqui (2020) argues ‘in colonialism there is a very particular function for words, they do not name, they mask.’ This paper concludes that feminist decolonisation, cannot solely be rhetoric, but needs to be put to practice in every action.

KeywordsOnline/virtual place; Feminism; Identity; Ethnography; Cultural resistance; Indigenous communal organisations; Decolonisation.
Year2021
ConferenceMedia, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCSSA) – Postgraduate (PGN) Conference
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Deposited11 Nov 2021
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/8z8wy/maya-women-contest-online-narratives-in-action-creating-equality-through-horizontal-communication

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