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Historical Archaeology

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 112–137 | Cite as

Material Expressions of Social Inequality on a Porfirian Sugar Hacienda in Yucatán, Mexico

  • Allan D. Meyers
Article

Abstract

Power relations intrinsic to the institution of debt peonage clearly influenced material conditions on the haciendas of Yucatán prior to the Mexican Revolution. Recent investigations at a late-19th- and early-20th-century sugar hacienda explore the material basis for its relations of production. The evidence indicates that hacienda owners divided the indebted workforce and then provided a select group of laborers with privileged access to material resources. Vernacular architecture, settlement layout, and the distribution of imported ceramics all signify social inequality within the labor force. Material disparities on the estate suggest a negotiation of power through the exchange of rewards for the loyalties of a managerial class. Moreover, the inequalities may have accentuated a social order perceived by Yucatecan elites, while inhibiting indebted class solidarity.

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Copyright information

© Society for Historical Archaeology 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allan D. Meyers
    • 1
  1. 1.Comparative Cultures CollegiumEckerd CollegeSt. PetersburgUSA

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