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Ecol Food Nutr. 2011 Jul-Aug;50(4):297-318. doi: 10.1080/03670244.2011.568911.

Coca-colonization and hybridization of diets among the Tz'utujil Maya.

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Health and Societies Program, Department of History and Sociology of Science , University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Biomedical health professionals express increasing concern that rising consumption of soft drinks and processed foods in Mayan and Latin American eating patterns may lead to detrimental nutritional and health consequences. Scholars debate whether the pervading presence of Coca-Cola and Pepsi in developing countries represents "Coca-Colonization," synonymous with cultural imperialism, or cultural hybridization. Using mixed qualitative and quantitative research methods, including participant observation and semi-structured interviews, this study explores the development of Coca-Colonization and cultural hybridization among the Tz'utujil Maya of Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala. By specifically examining biomedical perspectives, cycles of conquest, the political economy, religion, celebrations, and the physical environment through the lens of soft drinks, this study finds that Coca-Colonization and cultural hybridization are complementary rather than mutually exclusive processes that contribute to dietary transitions, economic development, and differential health beliefs related to soft drink consumption.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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