Ethinic Reconstruction in Contemporary Taos


In Taos and Santa Fe as elsewhere in New Mexico and the U.S. Southwest, it is the native, so-called ethnic populations, and particularly certain sectors within them, that exhibit some of the most vivid examples of contest or tension between resistance on the one hand and accommodation on the other to the all-encompassing, inescapable, apparently accelerating process of "touristification." The following discussion will focus upon the impact an evolving tourism economy has had upon Indian and Hispano strategies of ethnic boundary maintenance and expression of ethnicity in metropolitan Taos during the past nine decades. Both Taos and Santa Fe offer fertile opportunities to study the development of a tourism economy through time. In Taos there have been two major boom periods or stages of accelerated tourism growth during this century, each involving a different type of tourism. The first bloomed between World War I and World War II and was based on the art colony, a legacy still strongly influential. The second boom dates from about the middle 1960s and is based on the ski industry. As of 1990 this one seems to have been punctuated with spurts and declines but to be still ongoing.
Each successive phase has had different effects upon Indian and Hispano populations, as well as upon different sectors within these groups. The following will examine some of these impacts and compare responses to them within as well as between ethnic groups. My purpose is to outline an area of inquiry into the construction and reconstruction of ethnic identity in Taos.
Van den Berghe (van den Berghe and Keyes 1984: 344) has observed that ethnic tourism constitutes a special case of ethnic relations which can be analyzed as such, while MacCannell (1984: 385) further notes that under tourism ethnic reconstruction occurs, involving "the maintenance and preservation of ethnic forms for the entertainment of ethnically different others." Modern Taos constitutes a case study in the coevolution of this process over about a century. I will argue here that the first phase of accelerated tourism development intensified Taos Pueblo ethnicity and ethnic boundaries by creating an economy in which Indian ethnicity and ethnic difference became prime symbolic capital, controlled ultimately by non-Indians. Although its primary focus was Indian ethnicity, this first phase of tourism development heightened awareness of Hispano ethnicity as well.
The second tourism boom has intensified Hispano ethnicity (both internally and externally) even more, by creating an economy which attracts Anglo in-migration, forces Hispano outmigration, and reallocates and consumes ever greater quantities of limited arable land and surface water. This real estate boom continues alongside the on- going, progressive marketing of both Indian and Hispano ethnicity. In other words the engine of tourism, today fueled primarily by the ski industry, still runs along the symbological tracks of ethnic-cultural-environmental tourism laid down in the twenties. Recent tourism expansion had elicited responses which resemble and yet differ from those evoked during the heyday of the art colony. They bear the mark of a more advanced stage of capitalistic and demographic growth.
By intensification of ethnicity or of ethnic boundaries I mean some form of symbolic ethnic mobilization by either Indians or Hispanos against collectively perceived threats of land-water loss and displacement, political usurpation, or certain forms of cultural suppression or co-optation. Overt mobilization or activism may be distinguished from ongoing covert and passive forms of resistance that persist through longer periods of "normal" quiescence. Taos Pueblo has defended its territorial and cultural boundaries and resisted assimilation ever since Europeans first arrived in the Rio Arriba, with noted examples of organized violence occurring in 1680, between 1692 and 1694, and in 1847, followed by a plateau of litigation between 1906 and 1970. This last struggle constituted the landmark Blue Lake case, the course and outcome of which was influenced by major proponents of the art colony and Southwestern ethnic tourism.
Hispano-Mexicano resistance to Anglo domination also erupted in 1847, but its most noteworthy recent manifestation in Taos has emerged within the past twenty years, following in the wake of the Alianza and Chicano movements. Like Pueblo mobilization during this century, it has been largely nonviolent and profoundly affected by the course of tourism, although in different ways. The differences are of central concern here. Ethnic intensification resulting from the two major phases of accelerated tourism growth will be discussed in turn.


Bodine (1968) was the first to recognize that the art colony and tourism had a significant impact on Indian ethnicity and ethnic relations in Taos, a situation he called the "tri-ethnic trap." The trap was, or is, a dilemma in which Hispanos are confronted on the one hand with the devastating consequences of their land loss and subordinate status, and on the other with the Anglo glorification, advocacy, and imitation of Indian culture. Bodine noted how tourism created a setting in which "as objects of intense interest and fascination," many Indians learned to act out the expected and stereotyped role of a traditional Indian, a pattern against which younger people were then rebelling (1967: 138). He also showed how a handful of powerful Pueblo leaders kept the Blue Lake case alive over six decades of litigation with the federal government. Making astute use of a devoted Anglo lobby as well as good attorneys, the Pueblo gradually evolved a successful legal argument based on religious freedom. Blue Lake, the source of the Pueblo and town watershed, came to be defined as Taos Pueblo's "church in the mountains" and primary symbol of its cultural survival. It is significant that their appeal for survival as a cultural group could succeed only as a religious argument. This remains the only American Indian land claims case in which the original tract claimed has been restored (Bodine 1978).

Museumization at Taos Pueblo

The ethnic strategy and self-image of Taos Pueblo appear to have been shaped by tourism in several ways beyond those identified by Bodine. These include turning the central or "sacred" precinct of the village into a museum, preserving and reinvigorating ritual dances, and intensifying or increasing self-consciousness of the Pueblo's mystique.
The architectural structure of Taos Pueblo provides the prototype for Taos's "adobe-nature complex," which Kuroda (1981) identifies as the town's dominant symbol. Doubtless among the most photographed and visited architectural structures in North America, Taos Pueblo is today a partial or internally conflicted example of what MacCannell calls "museumization" (1976; 1984). This is a process whereby a traditional or cultural structure is converted into a staged setting for the entertainment of tourists. The oldest, most central part of Taos Pueblo has been preserved against modernization such as stucco, electricity, running water, and telephones. This conservatism has perservered through decades of external pressure and internal dispute and has been upheld by relentless traditionalist and elite powers on the tribal council in the name of religious and cultural preservation. The Pueblo's resistance to modernization and assimilation is motivated partly but not exclusively by tourism. Over the past nine decades, tourism has supported and influenced this resistance in important ways.
Tourism is today the main economic incentive for the preservation of primitive conditions inside the ancient heart of Taos Pueblo. The central area and living arrangements around the plaza are adjusted in major ways to the requirements of daily tourist visitation. Superimposed upon the aboriginal division of the village into northern and southern halves is a modern separation between public and private or frontstage and backstage. The central, open area of the village, the vantage from which it is most photographed, is the only part completely accessible to tourists. Pathways beyond this zone, especially those leading to the kivas, are barricaded. Many houses facing the plaza maintain their front rooms as curio shops open to the public during business hours. Outsiders are not allowed inside the upper levels of the five-storied apartments, still accessible only by ladder. The uppermost rooms are said to be architecturally fragile and uninhabited. The plaza is normally open to tourists during business hours seven days a week. Tourists are charged by the carload, on foot, and by camera. Although the exact amount is not generally known, it is certain that the Pueblo takes in thousands of dollars every week in this manner. Approximately 60 percent of the total is distributed to the governor's staff (20 percent to the governor; 25 percent to the guide; 15 percent to the secretary). Administrative decisions are made by the governor's office and tribal council, comprised of approximately fifty older (mostly initiated) men bound by custom but accountable as a body to no one for their governance.1
It should be noted that although the Pueblo has been Taos's main tourist attraction from the beginning and constituted the sine qua non of the art colony, it has never been the largest economic beneficiary of the commerce it indirectly engenders. This has always been the town of Taos, or more precisely its predominantly Anglo business sector.


As elsewhere in the Southwest, tourism encouraged the preservation of the Pueblo ceremonial dance cycle, including revival of certain elements within it. In her slender monograph on Taos Pueblo, Elsie Clews Parsons (1970) predicted the demise of the dances and traditional culture within fifty years, a prognostication not borne out. Today the major seasonal dances she described not only continue but in numerous instances have been revitalized or reinvigorated. One example is the restoration of attenuated paraphernalia such as the buffalo heads worn in the Buffalo Dance. Of the costumes worn in 1926, Parsons reported that "imitation buffalo heads were worn, made up of bear hide and cow homs. Real heads and hides were once worn, but there is none left in town." She noted that the genuine article might be forthcoming since a white man [Colonel Goodnight] had given the Pueblo five live buffalo (1970: 93, n. 130). This did come to pass, and today all the dancers wear real buffalo heads, while the tribe maintains a small herd. Small innovations in the service of tradition are expressed in the artful way contemporary elements are incorporated into ceremonial costumes-for example a "Planet of the Apes" mask worn by one of the Abuelos in the Matachines' dance in the early 1980s.
Tourism is not the sole motive for maintenance of the ritual cycle. The feast-dance complex is universally recognized as the motor of Pueblo identity and survival as a people. The dance performances require widespread participation and remain important to the villagers themselves, as well as to the many tourists and locals, mostly Anglos, who attend them in a kind of annual pilgrimage. Young adults continue to participate in the dances and children are recruited early. In participants' eyes the ceremonial complex is maintained out of religious rather than commercial motivation. Photography or other recording of these dances is still prohibited. The Pueblo now charges an entrance fee for many of the dances, from which native Taoseños are still usually exempt.
There has been a resurgence of cultural pride in the ceremonials and other forms since the 1960s, enhanced in part by the Blue Lake victory. This is apparent not only in the continued participation and the reinvigoration of certain elements, but in renewed interest in tradition on the part of acculturated young people. It has been stimulated partly by a widespread trend toward ethnic resurgence and mobilization in general which, as shall be seen, is manifest among Hispanos as well, and which itself seems a function of modernization. American Indian Movement-style militancy has not caught on at Taos, although as one Pueblo man joked, "There's a little bit of AIM in all of us." In any case there can be little doubt that conservation and creative maintenance of certain aesthetically valued ethnic markers or symbols have been fostered by Taos's ethnicity industry.

Secrecy and the Pueblo Mystique

The role of secrecy in Pueblo conservatism has long been noted. Although anthropologists have tended to attribute Pueblo secrecy to historical conditions such as religious persecution and pressure to assimilate, Brandt (1980) has shown how secrecy is an important feature of internal political organization as Well. I wish to propose that external and internal secrecy are reinforced by tourism, not merely as a protective device against voyeuristic prying and commercial exploitation, but as a positive economic strategy. Even more than the rest of Taos, the Pueblo is impoverished, underdeveloped, and federally dependent, and it has little to market other than its spectacular natural setting and "authenticity" and ethnic mystique. Indeed, apart from the land it occupies and "owns" under the auspices of the federal government, the Pueblo's only "capital" is its mystique, concretely embodied in carefully guarded architecture and ceremonial practices.
Under the economic auspices of the first tourism boom, the interests of the Anglo elite came to coincide with those of the Pueblo elite, insofar as both had reasons for promoting cultural-religious conservatism. By keeping a tight rein on the transmission of information about its religion, culture, and internal social affairs, the Pueblo not only maintains its inner hierarchy and outer boundary, but exerts a measure of control over the literal center of Taos's main tourist attraction. Both external and internal secrecy function to preserve restricted access to tribal administrative and financial information. Paradoxically, while stringently sanctioned secrecy, as well as the compartmentalization of ritual knowledge, militate against the revelation of inside information to non-Indians, it can also serve to enhance external ethnic capital at the individual level. While internal secrecy minimizes the possibility of significant revelations to outsiders, external secrecy feeds the aura of mystery attached to things Indian, particularly religious matters.
This has fostered the phenomenon of the "professional Indian" as one individual wryly put it, a strategy pursued by certain individuals, mostly men, since the early days of the art colony, when modeling (usually coupled with menial household labor) for the artists became a source of income (see Rodriguez 1989). Although the Pueblo (or council) came to condemn low-paid modeling as exploitation in light of what the paintings sold for, the original relationship between ethnicity-seeker and ethnic object exerts an enduring effect on Indian-Anglo relations. And the paintings themselves, as well as all the poetry, fiction, photography, and other promotional literature, continue to purvey the ever prolific-yet oddly static-Taos mystique.


Collective Hispano ethnopolitical mobilization first emerged in Taos during the early 1970s, in the form of community-based grassroots protest against large-scale resort developments (see Rodriguez 1987). It followed in the wake of the national and regional protest mobilizations of the late 1960s and exhibited similar stylistic features. The first major incidents involved protests against the proposed Indian Camp Dam above Talpa and Ranchos southeast of Don Fernando de Taos, and against ski resort pollution of the Rio Hondo some twelve miles north of the town. These two (Rio Hondo and Rio Grande del Rancho) are the largest and most populated watersheds to the immediate north and south of the town of Don Fernando de Taos.
The Indian Camp Dam issue involved a conservancy district that would have flooded lands to create a lake, ostensibly for irrigation but gradually understood and opposed by farmers as a government- sponsored recreational enterprise for which they would be taxed. After five years of resistance, the conservancy district was dissolved on a technicality and the dam was never built. The ski valley protests involved mobilization against uncontrolled resort expansion and associated river pollution upstream from several Hispanic communities. What is significant about these cases is that together they inaugurated ethnically mixed yet also "legitimately" Hispano or Chicano direct action protest activity in Taos.
The ski industry was established in the upper Rio Hondo watershed in 1956 and embraced by the Taos business community as the promise of winter tourism. By 1970 its growth stimulated substantial real estate development. It also required the purchase and transfer of significant numbers of water rights from farms downstream to nonagricultural uses at the resort. These transfers were unsuccessfully protested (to the State Engineer) by the commissioners of the affected irrigation ditches, on the grounds that their water supply would be impaired. At the same time, sewage from the resort had begun to pollute the river, which is classified as a high quality coldwater fishery, and which waters livestock and supplies acequias and a number of households in two downstream villages.
Both the Indian Camp Dam and ski valley protests, in addition to a rash of others against tourism development in the early eighties, are comprised of three main social elements: acequias, domestic water users associations and in some cases land grant officers, mostly older Hispanos and their families; younger Chicanos who have lived away and come home; and what can be described for the most part as ex-hippie Anglo environmentalists. Although polarization and mobilization over the ski valley and related issues occurs mainly along urban-rural and class lines, the conflict is universally perceived as ethnic and cultural. This is because the acequias are involved.
As a clearly bounded resource domain, each community or village is coextensive with its acequia system. Each village is linked by its ditches to every other within a given watershed, and sometimes to those in adjacent watersheds. Neighbors perennially cooperate and compete over irrigation water, of which there is almost never enough to go around. Even though agriculture has long been in decline and no longer comprises the local economic base, it nevertheless remains important to the household economy of many rural Hispanos and integral to their sense of ethnic and cultural identity. Escalating resort development throughout the Rio Hondo and neighboring watersheds is seen as a threat because it converts farmland to recreational and residential uses controlled and enjoyed mostly by outsiders. As it becomes harder to maintain the ditch system in the face of urban growth and tourism-related real estate development, the acequias have come to symbolize, along with specific tracts of land and water, Hispano cultural survival and community self-determination.
This process is not altogether unlike the one by which Blue Lake came to symbolize the cultural survival of Taos Pueblo. There are, of course, major differences in the conditions under which the two cases of ethnic symbolization have evolved, including the two groups' distinct political statuses vis-á-vis the state. Nevertheless they are comparable in two respects. To begin with, both involve ethnic territorial claims over limited vital resources essential to traditional niches or systems of subsistence. Second, both claims have emerged within the context of a tourism economy, although in different ways and at different stages of tourism development involving distinct types of tourism.

Ethnoreliqious Revivals

Tourism has engendered ethnopolitical mobilization around traditional resource domains on the one hand and fostered tactics of cultural advocacy and revivalism on the other. Hispano cultural- religious revivalism, based in certain Catholic parishes, has emerged in Taos alongside grassroots acequia-based community mobilization against resort development. The constituencies for both forms of ethnocultural activism are not precisely coterminous but they do overlap considerably. Significantly, they have flourished primarily in the same two watersheds where grassroots protests emerged.
For example, a kind of cultural renaissance has taken place in the San Francisco parish, based in Ranchos de Taos, since the Indian Camp Dam issue. It has involved restoration and annual maintenance of the famous church's adobe exterior by community labor, participation in an annual pilgrimage to Chimayo, commissioned restoration of the church's old reredos or altar screens, and the rededication of one to the Penitente Brotherhood. One family has revived and reinvigorated a series of "Comanche" dances from its genizaro (detribalized, Hispanicized Indian) past and performs them on feast days and other occasions as a troupe.
Similarly, in the Holy Trinity parish, which encompasses the Rio Hondo watershed, religious-cultural revivals began in the 1980s and include restoration of the reredos and adobe exterior the Arroyo Hondo church, revival of the Valdez (San Antonio) feast day procession, and revival during 1985 of religious dramas including the Matachines, El Niño Perdido, and Los Reyes Magos. It is this last case which suggests that the acequia-based protests and the parish-based revivals represent separate boundary maintenance strategies organized by distinct subsectors of the local Hispanic community.
The most spectacular revivals have been of the Matachines dance and the Christmas folk dramas of El Niño Perdido and Los Reyes Magos, which in 1985 were performed in addition to the more regular Los Pastores. What is significant here is that these dramas were organized and directed, with the parish priest's blessing, by a single individual from a prominent, land-rich family in Arroyo Seco, the parish seat. While the revivals enjoyed parishwide support and involvement, their organizational backbone was constituted by members of this particular extended family. This was most evident in the case of the Matchines dance, in which nearly all the dancers were members of the organizer-impresario's family. This family's role in the religious- cultural revivals is especially striking because it has also used its considerable influence to discourage and effectively suppress community participation in the acequia protests against resort pollution and expansion in the Rio Hondo watershed. While not unique, this family's conservative stance contrasts with that of other substantial parciantes in neighboring communities who support the protest and have mobilized.
Although it is too soon to tell whether these two forms of ethno-cultural activism represent complementary, competitive, or alternative strategies, it is clear they have both emerged in response to the recent economic, social, and physical changes in Taos and in the Rio Hondo watershed. Like other forms of overt dissidence, protest activity exacts high personal cost in a place where most employment is either government or tourism engendered. But whereas protest entails risk, cultural revivals are enjoyed by everybody, even while they proclaim ethnic identity. Within a tourism economy colorful cultural revivalism may well prove more adaptive than abrasive protests against resort expansion. It is a way of asserting ethnic identity without explicitly defending territory, and it is marketable, whereas dissidence leads to local unemployability. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether these individual pathways will lead to different outcomes, and for whom.


To a large extent it is differential political and economic status that shapes the contrast between Indian and Hispanic responses to tourism development in Taos. Collective expressions of ethnic resistance tend to be more confrontational for Hispanics than Indians, a fact which reflects the former's increasingly precarious hold on a land-base on the one hand, and the latter's complete federal dependency on the other. Hispanic villages like the Pueblo are engaged in a struggle to maintain their ethnic territoriality. Both populations are differently enclaved within the larger society and, because of this, face distinct patterns of subordination, constraint, and opportunity. Both are internally diverse and divided by class and class orientation, while their external boundaries are sustained by distinct structural configurations: legal if stigmatized citizenship on the one hand and federal wardship on the other. We, therefore, find a broad spectrum of individual responses to the accelerating and universal process of touristification, ranging from innovative accommodation through retreat, to open opposition.
One of the critical tasks of ethnographic research on tourism in New Mexico is the examination and analysis of local manifestations of ambivalence about the all-encompassing process of site commodification. This has been the direction of the foregoing discussion. But the approach followed here is meant to complement and be framed against another, differently focused approach to tourism in New Mexico. This other approach would seek to analyze particular locales as Sites of touristic reconstruction and autoinscription, much as Dorst (1989) has analyzed Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Dorst's recent "post-ethnography" of "Andrew Wyeth land" holds richly suggestive possibilities for application to Santa Fe or Taos as Site examples par excellence of a steady progression of touristic reconstruction and auto-inscription. Indeed, as a Site "naturally" given to the kind of "textual" reading Dorst so ingeniously employs, Chadds Ford pales in comparison to the vivid possibilities offered by Taos and Santa Fe.2
But I wish to touch here only on what is probably the weakest aspect of Dorst's approach, to posit it as a momentary frame against which to offset my present focus upon native strategies within a tourism economy. This aspect concerns Dorst's rationale for dispensing with informants as centered subjects who speak for themselves in favor of an exclusive method of Site analysis. In this connection he states:
If it is true that postmodernity entails the final triumph of the commodity through its effective invasion of the everyday, the Unconscious, the Primitive, indeed all spheres that heretofore seemed to have escaped its corrosion, then a post-ethnography must be aware of the commodification of subjectivity in the informant. (Dorst 1989: 209)

An important shortcoming of Dorst's analysis is his assumption that this commodification of subjectivity is a fait accompli or dead issue rather than a proposition to be tested or a dynamic process to be observed. Dorst carries Site ethnography to its logical extreme by eliminating the need, ostensibly, to work with informants, native of tourist. For Dorst, the Site reigns supreme and tells all, and needs only to be appropriately or critically read. In the final analysis this limitation undermines his claim that in order to foreground and retextualize the counterhegemonic possibilities latent within a Site, post-ethnographic practice should resist the "Sites inclination to inscribe its readership in particular ways." Such resistance, I submit, would consist not of ignoring informant subjectivity, but of discovering ways to illuminate it.
I want to propose, therefore, that not only should informants not be disposed of in intensive Site ethnography, they should be investigated as potential sources of counterhegemonic resistance, as well living, breathing loci of commodified-or "commodifying"-subjectivity. In other words, one would expect a least some informants to embody contests between shegemonic and potentially counterhegemonic discourses. Such individuals become walking battlefields-as they become the agents, enemies, cynics, beneficiaries, casualties, or dupes of the process of massive touristic autoinscription and Site reconstruction. Ultimately nothing and no one escapes the hegemonic process, although different people express and react to it in different ways. This we can see in Taos. Therefore, equally important as the semiotic reading of a tourist site is the systematic pursuit of answers to the questions: What precisely does the process of touristic autoinscription do to the people who enact or are absorbed into it at the local level? How do they become conscripted or alienated, vocal or mute, active, quiescent, or resistant to this process?
My discussion has dealt with the context tourist-oriented descriptions of New Mexico usually leave out, that is the local sociology. Such omission seems a common feature of the tourist-centered approach of tourism studies in general, as well as of touristic autoinscription itself, particularly in New Mexico. A more native-centered approach, however, can serve to open a window onto the means by which ethnic identity is sustained, in this case under the twin New Mexican economy of tourism and federal dependency. Moreover it helps to illuminate the otherwise invisible political meanings so deeply inscribed upon the famous Sites and epicenters of the New Mexico mystique.


  1. Another trend concurrent with progressive museumization has been residential retreat from the central precinct. During the past twenty years increasing numbers of families have opted to move into more private government subsidized houses outside the village walls, along the road and the western perimeter of Pueblo land. Many still own a house inside the village which may be used and occupied for various purposes, while to a large extent their everyday life is carried on outside. Apartments or houses within the village are sometimes inhabited by older, poorer individuals, or used for shops, and occupied during ritual periods. No one in Taos is untouched by the effects of tourism and most are directly or indirectly dependent upon it and/or the federal bureaucracy for their living. Nevertheless there is broad if unstudied social diversity within the Taos Pueblo population. According to the Taos tribal administration office, the total tribal membership for Taos, as of June 1990, was 2,175, or which 1,227 lived on the reservation, 533 adjacent to it or inside New Mexico, and 415 outside the state.
  2. Dorst's reading of a Site consists in mapping Chadds Ford village through time (eighteenth to twentieth centuries), focusing on the architectural transformation involved in becoming a progressively elaborated tourist attraction. Chadds Ford's touristic appeal consists in its embodiment of the visual setting portrayed in the paintings by native son Andrew Wyeth. Dorst examines the gradual architectural transformation of local buildings (including their interiors) as a process of autoinscription, accompanied by parallel forms of autoinscription manifest in museums, promotional literature, artifacts, ephemera, and an annual fair. His analysis centers on two principal concepts: veneer, which involves "the inscription onto surfaces of the image of material processes, social relations, and historical circumstances," (114) and vignette, or "any phenomenon where an image, representation, text, or simulcram can be said to resolve into the material surface on which it is imprinted" (119).
    Of interest here is the applicability of Dorst's method to a Site analysis of Taos and Santa Fe. These two towns seem to display what Dorst identifies as distinct degrees of self-reflexivity. Like Chadds Ford, Taos would seem to be "not self-reflexive but vernacular and non-ironic ... and heavily invested in the strategy of vignette" (116-117), whereas Santa Fe, like the remodeled Brandywine Museum, relies heavily on veneer and has begun to show a higher degree of ironic self-reflexiveness or cynicism about Santa Fe style. Contemporary downtown Santa Fe approaches the example of the theme park, which is "infinitely self-referential and aware of its textuality and capable of textualizing (and commodifying) this very awareness" (115). But downtown Taos is like a theme park minus the self-consciousness. "One symptom of this lack of detachment is the seeming absence of a self-directed sense of humor in ... cultural reproduction" (115). This difference is more in degree than kind and reflects different stages of capital development. Dorst proposes that "as postmodernity develops, this process of clarifying revision, in which one text is replaced by another that reproduces the first but in such a way as to abolish all obscurities and make what was implicit explicit, will become increasingly prominent, (177). The progressive layering, decade by decade, of increasingly polished and contrived architectural veneers over (or into) the facade which constitutes downtown Santa Fe illustrates this process, in which Taos, although different, is not too far behind. A Site is fully postmodern once its substance becomes all surface, or vignette and veneer.


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