Updating the Map of Desires: Mobile phones, satellite dishes and abundance as facets of modernity in Apiao, Chiloé, southern Chile
This article addresses the evolution of material and discursive practices in a rural, indigenous area, showing how these embody willingness to take part in modernity. The growing importance of electronic apparatuses, and material items perceived as modern, coexists with a strong attachment to tradition in lifestyle, religious beliefs, and practices. Growing participation in the market economy, state benefits granted to indigenous people, and increased cash circulation have contributed to a change in people’s values, and desires for, modern, store-bought goods. The article illustrates that the ability to buy, own, and display modern items is a response to the need to feel part of the wider society from which this rural community has for a long time felt excluded. This highlights the tension—often expressed in ethnic terms—between island, epitomizing tradition, and town, symbolizing modernity.
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