Two Genders, Two Varieties of Prestige. Fulfilling Cargo As a Way of Gaining Esteem


  • Kamila Baraniecka-Olszewska


Cargo, Mexico, carguero, prestige


Mexican cargo systems are a very popular topic of anthropological reflection. This article belongs to that current; however, its author attempts to show the cargos not as the axis of the social structure (as it is done in classical ethnographic studies), but as an individual career path available to both men and women. On the basis of material from the village of Tócuaro in the Michoacán province of Mexico, she demonstrates how one of the most difficult cargos, organising the feast of the Virgin Mary of the Candlemas, facilitates the process of gaining prestige. Interestingly, this prestige is different in the case of men and women. Despite that difference – which to some would certainly corroborate how unequal are the social opportunities for men and women – this prestige constitutes huge motivation to undertake the equally huge task of organising a feast for the entire community.


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How to Cite

Baraniecka-Olszewska, K. (2009). Two Genders, Two Varieties of Prestige. Fulfilling Cargo As a Way of Gaining Esteem. Ethnologia Polona, 49–58. Retrieved from