Diversity characterizes the people of Oaxaca, Mexico. Within this city of half a million, residents are rising against traditional barriers of race and class, defining new gender roles, and expanding access for the disabled. In this rich ethnography of the city, Michael Higgins and Tanya Coen explore how these activities fit into the ordinary daily lives of the people of Oaxaca.
Higgins and Coen focus their attention on groups that are often marginalized—the urban poor, transvestite and female prostitutes, discapacitados (the physically challenged), gays and lesbians, and artists and intellectuals. Blending portraits of and comments by group members with their own ethnographic observations, the authors reveal how such issues as racism, sexism, sexuality, spirituality, and class struggle play out in the people's daily lives and in grassroots political activism. By doing so, they translate the abstract concepts of social action and identity formation into the actual lived experiences of real people.