Mesoamerican Culture and The Children of Sanchez

Alfonso Moises

Abstract


Let's start by saying that the film The Children of Sanchez (1978), produced and directed by Hall Bartlett, has unique characteristics as an aesthetic object: it originates as anthropological discourse. In its original form, it was conceived and produced as a book, written by the renowned anthropologist Oscar Lewis in 1961. The author used anthropological methodologies and techniques to generate its content and form. Structured around chapters that describe in ethnographic detail the life style, values and customs of the different members of the Sanchez family, each chapter is literally a translated transcription of each participant's self-description. Lewis uses open interviews, observer participation and participant's testimony as anthropological techniques to generate the cultural data on the Sanchez family. Lewis' intention is to give the reader an inside view of family life and what it means to grow up in a one room home within a slum tenement situated in the heart of Mexico City.'

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