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Farewell to peasantry? (Post)modernising rural Mexico - The case of the ejido peasants in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec

Fernández C, Sandra LU (2004)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Syftet med avhandlingen är att undersöka bondeskapets (the peasantry)framtida existens. Analysen görs på global nivå, men framför allt på lokal nivå i samband med implikationerna av Mexikos nya jordreform från 1992. Bonden dekonstrueras i ekonomisk-och sociopolitisk aktör för att belysa hans/hennes complexitet. Försörjningsstrategier i tider då staten ersätts av markanden som utvecklingsagent, samt böndernas förmåga att bestrida statens politik lyfts fram. Centrala begrepp i analysen är modernitet, postmodernitet, klass, hållbar utveckling, genusförhållanden och etnicitet.
Abstract
The thesis deals with a classical issue, that of the fate of the peasantry, in particular the process of the transformation of the peasantry. The aim is to explore whether there is a place for the smallholding peasantry in the future, or if the process of dissolution is inevitable. The discussion of this broad question is approached by first deconstructing the peasantry into economic actors and sociopolitical actors so as to understand their livelihood, actions, thinking and projects, and then by reconstructing the peasantry as we see them in contemporary times in a specific region. First, the relationship between the state and the peasantry is described in a Mexican context, and the peasantry’s responses to state rural development... (More)
The thesis deals with a classical issue, that of the fate of the peasantry, in particular the process of the transformation of the peasantry. The aim is to explore whether there is a place for the smallholding peasantry in the future, or if the process of dissolution is inevitable. The discussion of this broad question is approached by first deconstructing the peasantry into economic actors and sociopolitical actors so as to understand their livelihood, actions, thinking and projects, and then by reconstructing the peasantry as we see them in contemporary times in a specific region. First, the relationship between the state and the peasantry is described in a Mexican context, and the peasantry’s responses to state rural development projects in times of liberalisation are identified. The political dimension of the peasantry is then explored. Finally, I present my interpretation of an alternative project for rural modernisation that is emerging among the ejido peasants in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.



The theoretical approach is interdisciplinary and includes political economy, radical human geography and postmodernist perspectives. Concepts of modernity and postmodernity are discussed in connection with the peasants in the Isthmus to highlight the complexity of that social reality with emphasis on the analytical categories of class, ethnicity, gender and sustainability. The theoretical framework is generated from the data constructed through the fieldwork, and both theories and data have been subjected to continuous inquiry. Hence, the methodology used here is based on grounded theory. The thesis places great importance on the empirical material, but claims that theory construction cannot be separated from data since it is an iterative process where the researcher is moving continuously between the conceptual and the empirical world. Theory and the empirical material combine so as to construct a conceptual model that describes and interprets the peasants comprehensively. The methods used are semistructured interviews, in-depth interviews, participant observation and archive studies. The voices of the peasants are interpreted by the author and presented as portraits or quotations, using the procedures and techniques of qualitative research when constructing, coding, analysing and presenting the information. A total of 135 semistructured interviews were undertaking in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001 in six ejidos in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.



The concluding remarks outlined in Chapter Seven present three scenarios for the outcome for these ejido peasants where their fate is approached through their own visions, fears and expectations expressed in their own words. The scenarios are not clear-cut. There is no single answer to the central question. Depeasantisation is an unpredictable and complex process and, most of all, it is an issue that should be approached empirically and contextually. (Less)
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author
opponent
  • Professor Gallardo, Gloria
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Mexico, qualitative methods, campesinos, ejido system, geographies of exclusion and resistance, Rural development, depeasantisation process, Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Social geography, Socialgeografi
pages
214 pages
publisher
Department of Social and Economic Geography, Lund University
defense location
Geocentrum I, Sölveg.10, Föreläsningssalen, 1st floor
defense date
2004-10-29 09:15
ISSN
0346-6787
ISBN
91-974998-0-3
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
00d9cc98-cc9d-489f-a5a7-5a4092f32c45 (old id 21863)
date added to LUP
2007-05-28 09:26:16
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:44:59
@phdthesis{00d9cc98-cc9d-489f-a5a7-5a4092f32c45,
  abstract     = {The thesis deals with a classical issue, that of the fate of the peasantry, in particular the process of the transformation of the peasantry. The aim is to explore whether there is a place for the smallholding peasantry in the future, or if the process of dissolution is inevitable. The discussion of this broad question is approached by first deconstructing the peasantry into economic actors and sociopolitical actors so as to understand their livelihood, actions, thinking and projects, and then by reconstructing the peasantry as we see them in contemporary times in a specific region. First, the relationship between the state and the peasantry is described in a Mexican context, and the peasantry’s responses to state rural development projects in times of liberalisation are identified. The political dimension of the peasantry is then explored. Finally, I present my interpretation of an alternative project for rural modernisation that is emerging among the ejido peasants in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
The theoretical approach is interdisciplinary and includes political economy, radical human geography and postmodernist perspectives. Concepts of modernity and postmodernity are discussed in connection with the peasants in the Isthmus to highlight the complexity of that social reality with emphasis on the analytical categories of class, ethnicity, gender and sustainability. The theoretical framework is generated from the data constructed through the fieldwork, and both theories and data have been subjected to continuous inquiry. Hence, the methodology used here is based on grounded theory. The thesis places great importance on the empirical material, but claims that theory construction cannot be separated from data since it is an iterative process where the researcher is moving continuously between the conceptual and the empirical world. Theory and the empirical material combine so as to construct a conceptual model that describes and interprets the peasants comprehensively. The methods used are semistructured interviews, in-depth interviews, participant observation and archive studies. The voices of the peasants are interpreted by the author and presented as portraits or quotations, using the procedures and techniques of qualitative research when constructing, coding, analysing and presenting the information. A total of 135 semistructured interviews were undertaking in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001 in six ejidos in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
The concluding remarks outlined in Chapter Seven present three scenarios for the outcome for these ejido peasants where their fate is approached through their own visions, fears and expectations expressed in their own words. The scenarios are not clear-cut. There is no single answer to the central question. Depeasantisation is an unpredictable and complex process and, most of all, it is an issue that should be approached empirically and contextually.},
  author       = {Fernández C, Sandra},
  isbn         = {91-974998-0-3},
  issn         = {0346-6787},
  keyword      = {Mexico,qualitative methods,campesinos,ejido system,geographies of exclusion and resistance,Rural development,depeasantisation process,Isthmus of Tehuantepec,Social geography,Socialgeografi},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {214},
  publisher    = {Department of Social and Economic Geography, Lund University},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Farewell to peasantry? (Post)modernising rural Mexico - The case of the ejido peasants in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec},
  year         = {2004},
}