Languaging to Trigger Change: Second-Order Intercultural Conversations with Urban Youth of Maya Descent

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Ksenia SIDOROVA, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mexico
Francia PENICHE PAVÍA, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mexico
Astrid Karina RIVERO PÉREZ, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mexico
The paper presents an applied research project that looks into whether the Maya language can become an identity factor and not a mere epiphenomenon for the urban youth of Maya descent, but not Maya speakers, inhabitants of a marginal urban area in southeastern Mexico, against the enthropic tendency towards the Maya language loss in the urban environment. Our starting point is Maturana’s (1989, 1990) idea that through languaging and emotioning human worlds are built and maintained; our lives are intertwined in interactional networks, therefore we only exist as human beings through conversations we hold with other human beings.

Firstly, we explore how the lifeways of the urban youth of Maya descent are constructed through communicational interactions within the family, including the intergenerational memory transmission, and with other members of their personal networks. The second step corresponds to the second-order intercultural conversations, whose participants (the young men and women and the researchers) reflect on the role of languaging and emotioning within the personal interactional networks in shaping their attitudes and representations of the Maya language and culture. These conversations are seen as potential triggers of changes in their attitudes and representations.

We also maintain that for the changes to be sustainable, the rest of the local society, viewed as a cultural multiverse (Krotz, 2003, 2004), is to recognize Maya speakers as legitimate others (Maturana, 1990); therefore the non-Maya groups are also to engage, so that the structural coupling between different parts of the multiverse can be ensured. Our role as researchers, then, is not that of external observers, but of co-producers of the cultural multiverse, who through languaging and emotioning, participate in intercultural dialogues and seek to contribute to a broader acceptance and respect towards the minorized language and its speakers.