CREATING THE OBJECT OF STUDY
IN THE 1960S ISABEL and her family were new to the city of Oaxaca; both she and her husband were from indigenous villages in the highlands—one Zapotec, one Mazatec. They met and married in the city of Oaxaca and moved to Colonia Hermosa. By the early 1970s Isabel was working at home making food to sell and sewing dresses for the market. Her husband, with the help of their eldest son, sold popsicles from a cart on the street. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, while many residents of Colonia Hermosa were [moving up] the economic ladder, Isabel and her family remained in the same difficult economic position. To account for their inability to take part in certain businesses and social ventures, Isabel would say, [People like us don't do these sorts of things.] However, by 1990, through a happy convergence of economic changes in Oaxaca, help from grown and working children, and the fact that their employer offered to sell them his equipment, Isabel's husband and older son started their own business of producing, as well as selling, popsicles. Their equipment consists of two freezers and the tubs to mix the popsicles. They also have the popsicle carts that others now push through the city and the marketplace selling their wares. By 2000, Isabel had taken over the business from her husband, and she now works with her son. They have rented a storefront space close to the central market, and it is there that they produce popsicles and store their equipment. This family now considers themselves to be fully entitled citizens, no longer migrants, and certainly not indios. While their village ties and language are still important to the family's older generation, this aspect of their identity is clearly second to their material successes.