Reflections on Empowerment, Schooling, and Cristal as Movimiento Icon
Following the logic of reflexive ethnography, this study is a selfreflexive look at the historical relationship between the Chicano ethnic community and the dominant society/culture. In studying this historical relationship I follow Clifford's (1986:19) conception of culture-that which is interactive, produced historically, is contested, temporal, and emergent. Under this conception Mexican American or Chicano culture in Crystal City is not the study of culture as an object to be described or seen as a unified corpus of symbols and meanings that can be definitively interpreted. Rather, a more accurate conception is to think of the relationship between the Chicano community and the dominant society/culture as an ongoing cultural conversation about Chicano empowerment in Crystal City, the Winter Garden region, and the greater Southwest. In this respect, my study and the previous studies on Crystal City and the Winter Garden region, reviewed in chapter 1, are part of the ongoing conversation of Mexican American culture within the context of South Texas and the Southwest. José D. Saldivar (1987:2), in reference to Kenneth Burke's, The Philosophy of Literary Form, depicts the cultural conversation as an allegory consisting of "a series of rhetorical exchanges, with people asserting, questioning, answering, defending, attacking, and sometimes changing their positions . . . an unending conversation." This allegorical conception of the cultural conversation proves useful in framing the analysis of the three-prong focus of this study.