Entre pueblo mágico y ciudad multicultural : ciudadanías diversas en la Periferia Urbana de San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas = Between enchanted town and multicultural city : citizenship formations among the Mayas in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico




Canas Cuevas, Sandra

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This dissertation is an ethnographic analysis of state led multiculturalism and its impacts on indigenous people in the former colonial city of San Cristobal de Las Casas in Southern Mexico. Based on an eighteen-month period of fieldwork, it examines how the colonial order is being redeployed in the urban space through multicultural programs that seek to govern indigenous people. In particular, it discusses how indigenous people are transformed into multicultural citizens and their lands into natural reserves. In showing how indigenous people are being produced as citizens and governed through particular citizenship regimes, it also emphasizes on how they produce themselves as political subjects. Drawing upon indigenous people experiences at the urban periphery, this dissertation discusses the complexities and contradictions they face in the process of building a community of their own. It investigates how multiple citizenships, religious and gender regimes coexist in the urban periphery, and how indigenous people navigate them in the process of building new forms of belonging. This dissertation complicates the civil society vs. State opposition by focusing on how citizenship among indigenous people is built on a daily basis through contradictory and problematic articulations. Through their articulations with peasant organizations, the State, political parties, NGOs and religious discourses, indigenous people become agents of their own government. They do so by directing each other actions and decisions, shaping their leaders practices and holding them accountable, and monitoring gender relations and religious practice to secure women’s participation in both politics and religion. Finally, this dissertation argues that indigenous people in the urban periphery of San Cristóbal de Las Casas refuse to become multicultural citizens. Instead they struggle to build horizontal and inclusive communities through land occupation and conversion to Islam, and in the process they are calling into question the limits and contradictions of state led multiculturalism, and expanding liberal notions of citizenship.




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