|one analyzes local communities in the context of the larger society.|
|2.||The analysis of ethnic relations must not be focused exclusively or even primarily at the cultural level; ethnic relations cannot satisfactorily be accounted for simply in terms of cultural differences, culture contact, and acculturation between groups. It is important to distinguish analytically the structural elements of ethnic relations from the cultural ones. The dynamics of group membership, solidarity, and conflict, and the network of structured relationships both within and between groups, are at least as essential to an understanding of ethnic relations as the cultural dynamics of group contact. People are not only "carriers of culture"; they are also members of structured groups. Insofar as systems of ethnic relations are largely determined by structural asymmetries in wealth, prestige, and power between groups, an inventory of cultural differences gives one a very incomplete picture of group relations. Cultural differences are frequently symptoms rather than determinants of intergroup behavior, even in systems where the distinguishing criteria of group membership are predominantly cultural.|
NOTE: The field work which led to this chapter was made possible through a summer research grant of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Washington, for which I want to express my gratitude. In the course of eight years of professional collaboration in Mesoamerican research, I have greatly profited from my exchanges with Benjamin N. and Lore Colby. I am also indebted to Ernest T. Barth and John F. Scott, of the University of Washington, who criticized an earlier draft of this chapter, and to my Mexican colleague Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán with whom I discussed problems of culture change and ethnic relations in Mesoamerica.