This article proposes an archaeology of the anthropological research undertaken by Susan Drucker in Jamiltepec, Oaxaca, in the late 1950s. I contrast the book that stemmed from this research with her undergraduate thesis and, above all, her field diaries to document the existence of two distinct sets of social nomenclature in Mexico: a local one rooted in Jamiltepec and characterized by a plurality of elusive classifications, and a national one founded on a basic distinction between the categories indigenous and mestizo. I argue that the transition between the local and the national one can be characterized as a domestication of social taxonomies, a process that reduced the multiplicity of identification positions circulating locally to the indigenous/mestizo binary and that above all did away with the mobile, unstable quality of those local identification positions in order to frame them as ontological categories. I thus demonstrate that the ideology of mestizaje, rather than operating on societies that were homogenously indigenous, intervened, in multidirectional ways, into complex local hierarchies.

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