Empowered speech: Social fields, testimonio, and the Stoll-Menchu debate

Authors
Citation
L. Binford, Empowered speech: Social fields, testimonio, and the Stoll-Menchu debate, IDENTITIES, 8(1), 2001, pp. 105-133
Citations number
59
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Sociology & Antropology
Journal title
IDENTITIES-GLOBAL STUDIES IN CULTURE AND POWER
ISSN journal
1070-289X → ACNP
Volume
8
Issue
1
Year of publication
2001
Pages
105 - 133
Database
ISI
SICI code
1070-289X(200103)8:1<105:ESSFTA>2.0.ZU;2-O
Abstract
This article employs Pierre Bourdieu's approach to the analysis of social f ields in order to dispute David Stoll's critique of Rigoberta Menchu in his book, Rigoberta Menchu nod the Story of All Poor Guatemalans. Stoll argues that Menchu's testimonio was a politically charged document that inaccurat ely portrays Menchu's own history and incorrectly represents it as represen tative of the experience of most rural Guatemalan indigenous peasants. Binf ord counters that the stories told by testimonial subjects, ethnographic in formants, and ethnographers (such as Stoll) are the products of strategic m aneuvers within social fields of power acid should not be evaluated in term s of abstract moral absolutes that cannot be enacted concretely. He also ma intains that Menchu's testimonio is a better guide to rural social relation s in northern Quiche department than Stoll's ethnographic work-if read as a representative, rather than a literal account. Finally, the article also b riefly addresses literary critical analysis of testimonio and discusses the forms that future testimonial works might assume.