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Relaciones. Estudios de historia y sociedad

versión On-line ISSN 2448-7554versión impresa ISSN 0185-3929


SCHAFFHAUSER MIZZI, Philippe. The Distances of Proximity: An Approach to the Regional Rivalry between Sahuayo and Jiquilpan, Michoacán. Relac. Estud. hist. soc. [online]. 2013, vol.34, n.135, pp.157-179. ISSN 2448-7554.

This article examines the construction of cultural stereotypes through one of its many ethnocentric wellsprings: regional rivalry. While it is true that the source of such antagonistic relations between neighboring localities may well derive from an original conflict (which in the case that occupies our attention here is related, without doubt, to the zenith of Cardenismo that transformed Jiquilpan into a national-level political hub), nowadays the inhabitants of these two municipalities perceive it in the form of an exacerbated chauvinism. On the one hand, Jiquilpan emerges schematically as a municipality that is heir to a fusty lineage of political culture that achieved national recognition; while Sahuayo, in contrast, combines its commercial vocation with a deeply-engrained, tripartite religious tradition: Sephardi, Catholic, and cristero. This contrast propitiates an over-representation that constructs an imaginary chasm between the two municipalities while concealing the relation of proximity and complementarity that has never ceased to exist between them. In this regard, local identities are nourished by this apparent distance, which corresponds to what Freud long ago (1978, 55-56) identified as an expression of the "narcissism of small differences", or what Moisés Sáenz (1939, 113) described as the expression of a national fragmentation in which each community, locality and town in the country becomes for its inhabitants a "small Fatherland" (patria chica). Adopting a constructivist focus, this article examines the construction of some identitary artifices whose social purpose is not so much to identify what is unique to each municipality but, rather, to create de facto distance between them -a distance as artificial as it is incommensurable- through the routine incorporation into their practices social of social representations concerning the Other as either "not Jiquilpense" or "not Sahuayense".

Palabras llave : Jiquilpan; Sahuayo; local identities; rivalry; stereotypes.

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