Politics & Prohibition: Deviancy in San Cristóbal de las Casas

As we have posted, it’s election time here in Mexico, including local elections in San Cristóbal de las Casas. We have already commented on the political aspects of the elections. Another peculiar happening during election time is that the city has become dry, that is, no alcohol.

That’s right, election time is also prohibition time. Bars, restaurants, tiendas, and bodegas of every sort are prevented from selling alcohol. This, of course, is simply unacceptable. Fortunately, I have experience finding alcohol in places of prohibition (see post Jungle Adventure – DAY 3: Lancondón for evidence). I refuse to stand idle into the sober night, accepting another tragedy associated with the so-called voting process. What good is the political process without dancing and drinking? Who wants to join a revolution without libation and festival? Political discussion appropriately coalesces with drinking, cigars, and some choice words men (which, of course, excludes New York-type liberals) say.

I must now engage in acts of deviance. Let’s look at the definition of deviance for clarity (sociologists love defining words). First, as Howard Becker reminds us, deviancy is not a quality inherent in an act but rather a consequence of the application by others (usually members or a control society or moral entrepreneurs) of rules and sanctions to a so-called offender. A “deviant” is a person to whom a negative label has successfully been applied.

Second, members of a control society sanction certain behaviors as legal/right/proper/legitimate and other behaviors as illegal/wrong/offensive/illegitimate. It is these sanctions towards certain behaviors that create deviancy. Put differently, social control, rules, and laws create deviant acts.

Now, back to my planned deviant actions. Johnny Vagabond and I plan to find beer or alcohol of any sort. Creeping and crawling into the night, we will find the dark underground economy in search of wet drink. I found beer in a prohibition barrios in the deep jungles of southern Chiapas. I will find beer yet again, the mission before me, the victory at hand.

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