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Home > Catalogue > The Moral Force of Indigenous Politics
The Moral Force of Indigenous Politics


  • 1 map 4 tables
  • Page extent: 366 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.5 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521703475)

  • Also available in Hardback
  • Published September 2008

Available, despatch within 3-4 weeks

US $41.99
Singapore price US $44.93 (inclusive of GST)

Tracing the political origins of the Mexican indigenous rights movement, from the colonial encounter to the Zapatista uprising, and from Chiapas to Geneva, Courtney Jung locates indigenous identity in the history of Mexican state formation. She argues that indigenous identity is not an accident of birth but a political achievement that offers a new voice to many of the world's poorest and most dispossessed. The moral force of indigenous claims rests not on the existence of cultural differences, or identity, but on the history of exclusion and selective inclusion that constitutes indigenous identity. As a result, the book shows that privatizing or protecting such groups is a mistake and develops a theory of critical liberalism that commits democratic government to active engagement with the claims of culture. This book will appeal to scholars and students of political theory, philosophy, sociology, and anthropology studying multiculturalism and the politics of culture.

• In-depth analysis on the Zapatistas, one of the most famous indigenous movements in the world • Argues that indigenous identity arises in response not to threat, but to opportunity, and is used as a political tool • Discusses the concept of 'membership rights', and contributes to debates about liberalism and human rights


Introduction; 1. Stepping behind the claims of culture: constructing identities, constituting politics; 2. Internal colonialism in Mexican state formation; 3. 'The politics of small things'; 4. From peasant to indigenous: shifting the parameters of politics; 5. The politics of indigenous rights; 6. Critical liberalism; Appendix.


'This is a smart and provocative book and the most interesting thing I've read on indigenous politics for quite some time. Courtney Jung explains her theory well, making 'critical liberalism' come to life for students and scholars across the disciplines - as well as general readers. Jung's original interpretation of indigenous mobilization in Mexico is relevant to everyone who cares about justice and diversity.' Anna Tsing, University of California, Santa Cruz

'This compelling work of normative political theory is deeply informed by field research on the emergence of the indigenous political movement in Mexico. Jung explores how cultural political identities are grounded in patterns of inclusion and exclusion by the state. In developing this radically constructivist theory of identity formation, she argues that democracies should neither 'privatize' culturally-based claims for fear that their incommensurability will threaten procedural processes, nor 'protect' cultural identities from democratic debate.' Elisabeth Jean Wood, Yale University and the Santa Fe Institute

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