Built space and bad subjects: Domination and resistance at Monte Albán, Oaxaca, Mexico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


This article examines the creation, renovation and negotiation of built space at Monte Albán, Oaxaca, Mexico, from 500 BC to AD 700, in order to document power relations and the construction of identity at the ancient site. Specifically, I detect strategies of domination in the deployment of monumental constructions in residential areas of the site, and coeval strategies of resistance in alterations of domestic space. These alterations reappropriate the experience of lived space in ways that contest the tones of authority read and misread from monuments. Heeding the critique that the rich lives of ancient subjects exceeded the simplistic binary of domination and resistance, I also explore the ways in which burials, both as ceremonies and as durable landmarks, contribute to identity. This approach treats burials as speech acts and as such builds from advances in the philosophy of speech. This case study underlines the importance of theoretical stances that appreciate the active roles played by all people, more powerful and less powerful, in the constitution of society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-80
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Social Archaeology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2002


  • Mesoamerica
  • mortuary analysis
  • power
  • space
  • subjectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Built space and bad subjects: Domination and resistance at Monte Albán, Oaxaca, Mexico'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this