Dissertation Abstracts

Land, Corporatism and Contestation: The Case of the Lacandon Community, Mexico 1972-2010

Author: Calleros-Rodriguez, Hector , hcalleros.coltlax@gmail.com
Department: School of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)
University: University of Leeds, United Kingdom
Supervisor: Ruth Pearson
Year of completion: 2011
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Land Rights , Conflict , Chiapas , Lacandon Indians
Areas of Research: Political Sociology , Environment and Society , Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations


The thesis is an in-depth study of how the Lacandon Community (Chiapas, Mexico) has mobilised as a political actor to defend its access to and tenure of land over the period 1972-2010. This thesis analyses how the land reform procedure of land restitution (1972) and the later incorporation of several land claimant groups (1979) have resulted in a long lasting land dispute in Lacandonia. It also analyses how the establishment of the Lacandon Community (LC) has resulted in conflict and cooperation in its relationship with the Mexican State, with other landed communities, and within itself. Moreover, the thesis analyses the forms of political action in which it has engaged to address this conflict. The thesis claims that this community has had a micro-corporatist relationship with the State in which the former has accommodated, cooperated, and negotiated State interventions although it has also resisted them. The thesis also claims that this ‘historical alliance’ is changing and currently communal leaders are looking for ways to reassess their forms of political action. This case study is relevant for understanding how land-based conflict has occurred in the Lacandonia region and is also relevant as it gives evidence of the forms of political action that the LC, an indigenous community, has used to secure its ownership of land. This research provides new evidence to the understanding of the case study and of micro-corporatist structures of power; it is based on a review of the debates on the identity and land rights of the original beneficiaries, the Lacandons, as well as on interviews and documents from agrarian archives which were collected in fieldwork during November 2007-August 2008 and January 2010.

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