JOPOL 2(2020)

Constructing Non-Ethnic Community Belonging on Grounds of Spatial Affiliation: The Local Adverb Aquí in a Guatemalan Community

This contribution will explore the use and meaning of the local adverb aquí (‘here′) in the context of a rural Guatemalan community. The participants do not position themselves in or are aware of ethnic categories of belonging as constituted in national Guatemalan discourse but employ a different, spatially grounded system of belonging in relation to their community. On the basis of the analysis of a group interaction dealing specifically with social categorization and a corpus of interviews with community members, I show how aquí is not only used as spatial reference but takes on social meaning that is related to the community’s locally specific construction of belonging.

Keywords: place-belonging, ethnicity, deictics, space and place, Guatemala