Mexican Speech Play: History and the Psychological Discourses of Power
If one spends time among Mexican descent working-class men of the lower socioeconomic level either in Mexico or the United States, it is quite llkely that, subject to the cultural constraints of time and social context, one may eventually witness the display of expressive performances of speech play. These displays may general1y be characterized as metaphorical, often sexual1y and scatological1y charged, exchanges of ritualized insult. They carry various names, for example, albur, chingaderas, or puntadas.1 For all its marked recurrence among Mexican working-class men, such expressive discourse has received almost no closely analytical ethnographic attention, and no one, as far as I know, has critical1y discussed these speech forms in relation to the class position of these men in the larger political economy. In another paper I offer an ethnographic discussion in these terms based on my fieldwork in southern Texas (Limón 1985).