"'Who we were, who we are, and who we want to be' - Self-perceptions and representations of the inhabitants of the Biosphere Reserve of Calakmul, Mexico"
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ingrid Kummels (Freie Universität Berlin)
The PhD project "Who we were, who we are, and who we want to be - Self-perceptions and representations of the inhabitants of the Biosphere Reserve of Calakmul, Mexico" is located in the IRTG research area "Spaces of Representation". In particular, it focuses on the life stories of selected representatives of certain communities of Calakmul. Further attention will be paid to the internal and external use of modern media to represent this region. The project also examines what kinds of identity constructions exist within and outside of the communities. The aim will be to elaborate on the individuals’ self-understanding, and to reveal who holds the power of representation and how that power is used. A starting point of the research is the assumption that the inhabitants of Calakmul are searching for their common identity due to their migration experiences and the associated changes in living conditions. The media has covered efforts of certain community members in the field of eco-tourism, archaeological projects, and international programs for sustainable development. The resulting images create interpretations of reality, which do not always coincide with the actual living situation and self-perception of the residents. Methodologically based on a qualitative approach, the study is divided into three steps. While doing field research, the life stories of several families (oral history) will be recorded and analysed. The current state of media representation will then be surveyed. Finally, the results will be discussed and analysed together with the residents.
Throughout the entire research project, observations and in-depth interviews will be captured on film. Thereby my own methods of representation and its content shall be constantly questioned. After the dissertation’s completion, the material is to be used for a documentary as well as for exhibitions in local museums.