book review of laua lewis hall of mirrors

Topics: Social class, Social stratification, Sociology Pages: 4 (765 words) Published: September 20, 2014
Laura A Lewis’s Hall of Mirrors attempts to explain the social hierarchy of early New Spain society and argues that through sanctioned and unsanctioned domains that dominate every day life; consequently, society’s layer are intertwined and often conflict and influence each other in New Spain society. The term sanctioned domain refers to rules of society that were handed down and enforced from the Spanish government and distributed through the lower rungs of society(5). The term unsanctioned domain pertains to acts that were considered to go against Spanish moral and religious beliefs. Unsanctioned acts consisted of witchcraft which could be broken down into dealings with the devil, and use of “black Magic”(6). Sanctioned and unsanctioned domains are the threads that interlocked all layers of new early Spain society.

Lewis argues against the traditional meaning of casta in early New Spain and forms her own idea in the book. Casta could be defined as a sanctioned domain of non-ordered pyramid of stratification that depends on sanctioned and unsanctioned domains that allow movement throughout the social hierarchy(33). New Spain society turns into a mingling of the different branches of society that form amongst the social hierarchy. Raza or race is another very important concept that is introduced in the book also(23). Spaniards started to link raza with the purity of bloodlines and genealogy of people within their society that were connected to Moors and Jews. Spanish inquisitors would often ask people if their raza contained Jewish or Moorish blood(23). The Spaniards considered Jewish of Moorish blood lines to be undesirable and be impure; consequently, the Spaniards would also link it with religion that challenged Spanish Christianity. Casta characteristics was often seen as being fluid which allowed social mobility and allowed interactions of groups throughout the social pyramid of society(33). 1.

The main difference between casta and raza seems...
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