Mayan dress as a text: contested meanings

This article focuses on the importance, complexity and ambiguity of the symbolic terrain both in everyday life and in social struggle. Taking Mayan women's traditional dress or traje as a text, the author reflects upon the multiple and contested meanings this evokes, and argues that Mayan women are playing a role which has not received sufficient analysis or recognition within the Mayan movement's struggle for indigenous identity and rights. Opening with a brief theoretical overview, the article goes on to analyse the different meanings in dispute and how these are related to wider issues, and concludes with a reflection concerning the challenges facing inter-ethnic relations and the recognition of indigenous peoples in Guatemala.