Consumer Culture in Guatemala City during the ‘Season of Luis Mazzantini’, 1905: The Political Economy of Working-Class Consumption

Abstract: In 1905, world-renowned bullfighter Luis Mazzantini arrived in Guatemala City for a number of corridas. Despite the excitement of the urban elite, the matador's fights were poorly attended by the working class due to high ticket prices. This article uses the ‘Mazzantini Season’ as a case study of working-class consumer culture in Guatemala City to trace shifts in Guatemalan political economy through the 1890s and early 1900s, analysing the constraints on popular consumerism such as price inflation, currency deflation, food shortages and other factors affecting working-class urban Guatemalans. It also demonstrates the manner in which responses by the state and coffee planters to economic crises to protect elite interests fundamentally undermined the ability of working-class residents of Guatemala City to participate in consumer culture.