LAND DISPOSSESSION AND JURIDICAL LAND DISPUTES OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN NORTHERN MEXICO: A STRUCTURAL DOMINATION APPROACH

Almanza Alcalde, Horacio (2013) LAND DISPOSSESSION AND JURIDICAL LAND DISPUTES OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN NORTHERN MEXICO: A STRUCTURAL DOMINATION APPROACH. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

ABSTRACT
This thesis looks at land disputes and the dispossession of Rarámuri communities in
northern Mexico by examining the way dominant groups shape the structural
conditions for land appropriation and its perpetuation over time. This is pursued by
exploring the link between the Rarámuri communities’ decision-making power and
their potential to resists land dispossession.
The research contributes to a better understanding of the wide variety of
dominant actors’ tactics behind juridical dispossession of indigenous landholders
with ancestral ties to the land. Archive research and interviews regarding Rarámuri
communities’ agrarian and juridical disputes over the 20th century provided
empirical evidence to interpret dominant actors’ discourses and practices. These
obscure indigenous communities’ land claims, while legitimating, normalising and
allowing development-led land appropriation through the use of notions of progress,
rule of law and political representation.
While the lowest levels of Human Development in indigenous regions in
northern Mexico have been found in the Tarahumara mountain range, development
discourses and practices tend to neglect historical, relational and political
perspectives of development-induced land displacement, thus, invisibilising
structural inequalities and perpetuating land dispossession.
The structural domination approach aims at the identification of the main
structural conditions that indirectly constrain the Rarámuri’s efforts to protect their
property or landholding rights from local and external elites engaged in
development initiatives. Group dominance and subordination is thus highly
influenced by groups’ constructed attributes and, therefore, by the position different
groups occupy in the social structure.
Archive research and interviews concerning Rarámuri communities’
agrarian and juridical disputes over the course of the 20th century revealed
domination mechanisms for land dispossession. The thesis argues that these tactics
undermine the Rarámuri’s decision-making power and, consequently, their
potential to resist unwanted development interventions. I conclude that, in contrast
to brokerage, self-determining practices have been shown to be more effective for
securing and defending indigenous land.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
Depositing User: Mia Reeves
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2014 10:17
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2014 10:17
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/48039
DOI:

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