Montiel, Miguel, Tomas Atencio, and E.A. "Tony" Mares. Resolana: Emerging Chicano Dialogues on Community and Globalization. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 2009. xiv + 224 pages. Paper, $26.95.
Resolana is a Spanish term derived from resol, the reflection of the sun. Used for centuries in northern New Mexico, the term often refers to the sunny side of buildings where meetings take place. For the three authors of this book, resolana refers to both a place and a process: a gathering place for serious dialogue and a process of understanding at a higher level. Despite their strong academic backgrounds, they maintain that wisdom generated through resolana is not unique to the highly educated and is improved through everyday community dialogue and critique. Their essays, one primarily rural, one urban, and one more international, view resolana as a cross-cultural solution to globalization's effect on historical culture and traditional knowledge.
Sociologist Tomas Atencio uses his essay to describe the socioeconomic history of his home region, northern New Mexico. The everyday cultural customs and heritage of the region, dominated by Indo-Hispanic subsistence agriculture since the 1500s, have changed through the introduction of the railroad in the 1880s and then a leap into the information/ service economy centered around technology (Los Alamos Laboratory) and tourism (e.g., Santa Fe, Taos). This change has left long-standing residents behind as highly educated, wealthy Anglos move into the region. Traditional village values of reciprocity, sharing, communalism, harmony with nature, and honor have declined as production was severed from consumption and extended family networks altered.
Atencio describes attempts to revitalize some of these community values. Such efforts include 1970s projects in his hometown of Dixon, where a downtown building was converted to La Academia de la Nueva Raza (Academy of the New Race), designed as a kind of Plato's Academy for Hispanics. This effort reconnected communities with storytelling by local elders, included in a local journal, Entre Verde y Seco (Between Green and Dry). La Academia also extracted parts of community exchanges and included them in the newsletter La Madrugada (The Dawn). La Resolana, a one-page flyer dropped off in bars, also cited Entre Verde y Seco. Thus, local issues were refined by traditional community discussion. Such movements revive what the French philosopher, sociologist, and...