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Politics, Identity, and Mexico’s Indigenous Rights Movements

$31.99 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics

  • Date Published: August 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107696761

$ 31.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Drawing on an original survey of more than 5,000 respondents, this book argues that, contrary to claims by the 1994 Zapatista insurgency, indigenous and non-indigenous respondents in southern Mexico have been united by socioeconomic conditions and land tenure institutions as well as by ethnic identity. It concludes that – contrary to many analyses of Chiapas's 1994 indigenous rebellion – external influences can trump ideology in framing social movements. Rural Chiapas's prevalent communitarian attitudes resulted partly from external land tenure institutions, rather than from indigenous identities alone. The book further points to recent indigenous rights movements in neighboring Oaxaca, Mexico, as examples of bottom-up multicultural institutions that might be emulated in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America.

    • This is only one of two comprehensive English language books on the Zapatistas and the only one since 2003
    • The first comprehensive book in English on customary law experiment in Oaxaca and also on the Oaxaca 2006 social movement
    • One of very few books on identity-based social movements based on public opinion surveys aggregated to draw conclusions about social movement followers (rather than taking leader statements as representative)
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “In this fascinating and provocative book based on a survey of some 5,000 indigenous participants, Eisenstadt finds that – contrary to the claims of social movement activists and many social scientists – indigenous citizens in Oaxaca and Chiapas exhibit a complex mix of communitarian and pluralist attitudes. Its use of both quantitative and qualitative methods makes it a ‘must-read’ for students of Indian politics and social movements in Mexico and across the Americas.”
    – Shannan L. Mattiace, Allegheny College

    “Through surveys and comparative case studies, Eisenstadt sheds new light on the complex, micro-level processes by which individuals and indigenous communities construct political identities. He demonstrates that individualist as well as communitarian approaches to citizenship rights are found among indigenous groups in southern Mexico, and he helps to explain how different patterns of political and economic development shape alternative identities based on class and ethnicity. This book is a major contribution to the study of indigenous politics and social movements in contemporary Latin America.”
    – Kenneth M. Roberts, Cornell University

    “Based on a pioneer survey and on insightful fieldwork, Eisenstadt’s fascinating book brings to life the complex and strategic nature of indigenous identities in Mexico. His finding that communitarian attitudes depend on the nature of agrarian institutions and on histories of rural protest, rather than on ethnicity, forces us to rethink our most fundamental assumptions about indigenity in Latin America.”
    – Guillermo Trejo, Duke University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107696761
    • length: 226 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.34kg
    • contains: 6 maps 10 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Indians by choice?: traditional societies, indigenous rights movements, and the state in post-Zapatista southern Mexico
    2. A tale of two movements: the salience of indigenous rights in Chiapas 1994 but not in Oaxaca 2006
    3. Agrarian tenure institutions, conflict frames, and communitarian identities in indigenous southern Mexico
    4. Agrarian conflicts, armed rebellion, and the individual versus collective rights tension in Chiapas' Lacandon jungle
    5. Individual rights and communal elections in Oaxaca, Mexico: a challenge to multiculturalism and women's rights
    6. From balaclavas to baseball caps: wearing many hats in the exercise of 'real world' identities
    7. Reconciling individual rights, communal rights, and autonomy institutions: broader lessons from Chiapas and the 'Oaxaca experiment'.

  • Author

    Todd A. Eisenstadt, American University
    Todd A. Eisenstadt is Associate Professor of Government at the American University, where he also serves as chair of the department. He is the author of Courting Democracy in Mexico (Cambridge University Press, 2004) and has published dozens of articles and book chapters and co-authored or edited several books on democratization, identity and social movements, public opinion, political parties and electoral campaigns, mainly in Latin America. Professor Eisenstadt has been a visiting scholar at Harvard University's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) and El Colegio de México in Mexico City, the Latin American Social Science Faculty (FLACSO) in Quito, Ecuador and the Center for US-Mexican Studies of the University of California, San Diego. Research for this book was funded in part by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and an American University Faculty Development grant. His work has also been funded by the Fulbright Commission, the National Security Education Program, the International Rotary Foundation and the Ford Foundation, among others.

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