Transnational meanings of La Virgen de Guadalupe: Religiosity, space and culture at Plaza Mexico

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Irazábal, C. and M. Gómez-Barris. “Bounded Tourism: Immigrant Politics, Consumption, and Traditions at Plaza Mexico.” Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change 5(3), 2007, 186-213.


In this paper, we examine Plaza Mexico in Lynwood, California, a magnet for Latino communities from throughout the greater Los Angeles region, to show immigrants’ use of space to produce transnational communities as coherent. One of the key ways that immigrant identity is formed in this space is through cultural religiosity. Despite the fact that Plaza Mexico is a shopping mall, the place gathers participation from Mexican immigrants and Latinos of other national origins at key times of religious expression during the year. Following what Holloway calls ‘enchanted space’, we analyse the Day of the Dead celebration (2 November) and the Virgen de Guadalupe celebration (during and after 12 December) to discuss the transformation of the mall into a multidimensional place that encompasses secular, religious, cultural and political expressions. We show how Plaza Mexico provides a rich location from which to understand transnational cultural connections and familial transmissions of culture between different generations of immigrants which we term ‘affective connectivity’.