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The Virgin of Guadalupe and the Politics of Becoming Human

Donald V. Kurtz
Journal of Anthropological Research
Vol. 38, No. 2 (Summer, 1982), pp. 194-210
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3629597
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Virgin of Guadalupe and the Politics of Becoming Human
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Abstract

Anthropologists rarely have investigated the etiology and role of miracles in social life. The Virgin of Guadalupe is a consequence of one of the world's great miracles. In this paper the Virgin of Guadalupe is analyzed in terms of the political conflicts around the time the miracle was proclaimed; she is best understood as an outgrowth of political conflict and as a political symbol that had significance for it. The concepts of the dialectic and liminality are used to analyze the social and political processes which gave rise to the Virgin of Guadalupe. Liminality provides a time-space context within which, as a consquence of dialectic tensions, symbols may emerge and serve to resolve social contradictions. This conceptual framework explains the miracle of Guadalupe better than one which perceives it merely as a supernatural phenomenon.

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