Browsing by Subject "Mexico"

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  • Miller, Cary (Helsingfors universitet, 2017)
    With a land tenure structure dating back to the Mexican Revolution of 1910, Mexico is second only to Papua New Guinea in proportion of forest land under community ownership. While many communities have successfully formed community forestry enterprises (CFEs) producing value-added goods and generating income and social benefits for community members, many more remain minimally involved with forest management or do not harvest timber. As such, this study sought to collect and analyze the opinions and experiences of groups and individuals involved in the forest sector, with the aim of providing a greater understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the Mexican forestry model, the most important factors facilitating or undermining the development of CFEs, and opportunities for the advancement of community forestry in the future. This study is based on semi-structured stakeholder interviews which were conducted in four states with members of both harvesting and non-harvesting communities, members of Mexico's National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) and Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), various experts with ties to the forest sector, and foresters serving the communities interviewed. The results indicate that communities face a number of significant developmental challenges. Community organization was found to be an essential internal factor, and successful CFEs have in common a strong internal cohesion and collective decision making capacity, while failure is often linked to indecision, internal divisions, or corruption. Will and ability to invest in the CFE are also crucial, and sources suggested that communities are often impeded by their lack of 'entrepreneurial mentality' when it comes to investment. For those that are interested in investing in the CFE, lack of available capital is often problematic. In part because of these challenges the Mexican forest sector relies largely on obsolete practices and technology, resulting in elevated costs of production relative to foreign competitors, and foreign competition has taken a toll on the industry in Mexico. In some areas declining industrial consumption has made it more difficult for communities to find buyers for forest products and may limit future production potential. The quality of technical services available to the communities is another factor that is both critical and inconsistent, and the important role of private foresters in aiding CFE development was emphasized by a number of sources. Government intervention has also had an important impact on the sector and CONAFOR has played a key role in its development in recent years. On the other hand, forestry is a heavily regulated activity and there appears to be a consensus that regulations could or should be simplified. It was also suggested that government agencies may not have the resources to process the paperwork they demand in a timely manner. Overall, community forestry in Mexico represents an important and environmentally sustainable source of rural livelihoods, and a great deal of potential remains for the expansion of the sector. While some challenges facing CFEs may not have clear solutions, there are some steps that could be taken to improve conditions in the future. Technological advance will be critical if Mexico is to compete on international markets, and there is work to be done both in terms of finance and in promoting 'business mentalities' and investment. Likewise, a thriving forest industry may require strong policy support from the federal government and efforts to ensure that technical services available to communities are adequate. Finally, it will be important to evaluate the regulatory balance between environmental protection and development of the sector moving forward, to create conditions that are both sustainable and conducive to growth.
  • Fernandez Bravo, Sergio; Bertomeu Sánchez, José Ramón; Schifter Aceves, Liliana (2020)
    This work is a historic analysis of the use of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) in Mexico since the 1940s and its implications for the then nascent domestic agrochemical industry and the social development programs boosted by the Mexican State. DDT was introduced to Mexico at the beginning of that decade as one of the main technological inputs of the agrarian and health models designed by the Rockefeller Foundation, which identified both malaria and low agricultural production as critical problems for this country. The adoption of these models by the Mexican political and economic system encouraged the creation of public institutions and a national agrochemical industry as well, which allowed the persistent DDT use and production for more than 50 years in Mexico.
  • Nygren, Anja Kaarina; Wayessa, Gutu Olana (2018)
    This article examines the politics of institutional governance of displacements and the intersecting experiences of environmental justice, drawing on case studies of flood disasters and urban displacements in Villahermosa, Mexico, and government-sponsored displacements and resettlements in rural Oromia, Ethiopia. We argue that a fuller understanding of how institutional governance produces multiple marginalisations requires political-ecological and intersectional analyses of residents' experiences of injustices that encompass interlinkages between social position, gender and political power. The analysis is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Mexico and Ethiopia, comprising interviews, participant observation, document analysis and surveys. The study shows similarities and differences in patterns of governance, mechanisms of marginalisation and relations of authority and power concerning differentiated displacements and everyday vulnerabilities in different contexts of the global South. Our analysis enriches theoretical understanding of governance and justice, demonstrating how multiple marginalities are produced, reinforced and contested through political processes imbricated with forms of governance characterised by institutional intrusion and absence.
  • Quist, Liina-Maija; Nygren, Anja (2019)
    Marine extraction accounts for one third of the world's hydrocarbon production. Several analyses suggest that seismic surveys employed in oil exploration harm marine life; however, their long-term impacts have not been extensively studied. We examine debates between fishers, the oil industry, and governmental authorities over the effects of oil explorations in Tabasco, Mexico. The study employs ideas from historical ontology in tracing the contested production of truth-claims about exploration in the context of scientific uncertainty. It shows how actors, through their different engagements with the sea, and with different degrees of power, frame claims about the relations between exploration and fish. We argue that fishers, through their efforts to "think like fish" produce situated knowledges about the effects of oil exploration. They explain a disappearance of fish by their understanding that seismic surveys disturb fish migration, impair the hearing of fish and cause fish death. Oil company and governmental representatives frame the impacts of oil exploration as insignificant by separating environmental and social dimensions, by isolating individual exploration events, and by arguing that possible effects are transitional. Due to scientific indeterminacy, oil exploration is malleable in the hands of powerful political representations that understate its possible impacts on marine socio-environments.
  • Pareyon, Gabriel (Universidad Panamericana, 2007)
    The work is the most extensive encyclopedic compilation on Mexican music published to the date, in the form of a dictionary. It includes composer's bios, list of works, musical institutions, instruments, performers, theatres, and many other categories about the music of Mexico. Most of entries include bibliography.
  • Pareyon, Gabriel (2015)
    This essay is simultaneously registered in social and socio-acoustic anthropology focused on a Latin American context, adopting concepts from sociolinguistics and semiotics to formulate the hypothesis that, in urban postmodernity, when the social tissue is broken down by the violence of the structure of a concentrated power, the subjugated groups and individuals replicate violence in the form of noise. As part of this game of forces, some “social lifestyles” are created, fostered by a dynamic of flows between human groups with different behaviors, and nevertheless with negotiation spheres, in the field and the habitus of social theory (adapted from Attali and Bourdieu). It is in these areas of power and negotiation where noise plays a crucial role in the social dynamics contained in "socio-acoustic bands", transient processes of sound signs, eloquent about a specific community. Finally, it is explained how these dynamics can configure coexistence modalities, that is, socio-acoustic damping systems between different social groups. The work is also a detailed critique against conventional "solutions" to the noises of postmodern society, with special attention to the Mexican case.
  • Quist, Liina-Maija (2019)
    In Tabasco, in the Mexican Gulf of Mexico, many small-scale fishers follow their catch to prohibited offshore areas set aside for the oil industry's extractive activities. They claim that increased seismic studies and oil extraction displace and kill fish, contributing to a reduction in hauls, which acts as an incentive to the fishers to continue accessing traditional fishing grounds in the recently prohibited areas. The author draws on theoretical ideas from de la Cadena and Ingold to examine the fishers' offshore movement and related knowledge claims as `excess', or beyond conventional political discourses, interrogating the multiple and contested meanings that fishers attach to their sea environment, fish and fishing in the context of increased oil extraction operations. The article shows that these meanings are difficult to articulate within a political frame that constitutes the offshore extraction area as a `sacrifice zone'. However, the respective knowledges of fishers and the oil industry about the industry's impacts on marine life rely on patchy evidence, lack systematicity, and are motivated by political interests. The author argues that scientific indeterminacy about the causes of depleting fish populations and the weakness of environmental legislation exclude fishers' knowledge from politics while recognising the oil industry's knowledge as valid.
  • Sjöblom, Ylva (2008)
    Ämnet för denna undersökning är förhållandet mellan grupp och territorium sett genom en marktvist i västra Mexiko. Utgångspunkten är en rättsprocess där en grupp wixáritarier krävde att staten skulle erkänna orten Xapatia som ett indiansamhälle med kollektiv äganderätt över sin mark. I undersökningen granskas wixáritariernas samhälle och jordrättigheter genom att studera motsättningen mellan wixáritariernas och det statliga rättssystemets uppfattningar så som de tar sig uttryck i rättsprocessen. Avsikten är att förstå varför rättsprocessen uppstått och vilka intressen wixáritarierna har att delta i den. Som en studie av en tvist hänför sig undersökningen till rättsantropologins område och mer allmänt till politisk antropologi. Frågan om wixáritariernas samhälle och förhållande till staten anknyter till den antropologiska diskussionen om korporativa indiansamhällen. En tredje utgångspunkt är James C. Scotts syn på förhållandet mellan staten och lokala jordägosystem. Undersökningen grundar sig i första hand på textanalys av rättegångsmaterialet. Wixáritariernas argument i rättsprocessen analyseras mot bakgrund av etnografiska beskrivningar, och dessa jämförs med rättens argument. Som data används dels rättsliga dokument, dels etnografisk litteratur. De rättsliga dokumenten består av rättens utslag i tvisten, wixáritariernas rättsinlagor och andra skriftliga dokument som de hänvisat till som bevis i rättegången. Den etnografiska litteraturen består av antropologiska studier av wixáritariernas samhälle och jordägosystem. Dessa källor kompletteras med uppgifter insamlade genom fältarbete i Mexiko. Undersökningen visar att wixáritariernas samhälle kan ses om ett socialt nätverk grundat på rituella och politiska band som kretsar kring ceremonicentrum. Genom dessa band förankrar gruppen sig i territoriet. I rättsprocessen argumenterade wixáritarierna för sin äganderätt till marken genom att betona att invånarna bildade en gemenskap som var bunden till marken genom invånarnas band till förfäderna. Enligt rättens syn är samhället en areal avgränsad av råmärken och gränslinjer definierade av den mexikanska staten. Trots att den mexikanska staten i princip erkänner indianernas kollektiva jordägande beaktar den inte deras samhälleliga tillhörighet och organisation då de jordrättsliga gränserna dras upp. Utgångspunkten för marktvisten var wixáritariernas försök att få sin sociala, rituella och politiska organisation att sammanfalla med statens jordrättsliga indelning av området och därmed reintegrera hela det korporativa indiansamhället i alla sina aspekter.
  • Nygren, Anja Kaarina (2018)
    Cities in different parts of the world are going through intensive transformations based on institutional efforts to govern urban spaces and populations in the face of global environmental change and neoliberalization of governance. This essay examines inequalities and interconnectivities in urban governance and justice, drawing on a case-study of three, socially-differentiated sectors of the city of Villahermosa, Mexico, between 2011 and 2016. My analysis contributes to a multi-dimensional approach toward justice, and the cognate fields of right to the city, and segregation and inequality, that encompasses: (1) (re)distribution of residents’ exposure to risks and access to services; (2) recognition of the causes and consequences of risks and vulnerabilities; (3) fields of representation available for different residents; and (4) residents’ capabilities to recover from disasters and achieve everyday well-being within the existing urban governance and service provision structures. Instead of conceptualizing segregated cities as composed of isolated worlds, I argue that it is only possible to understand how the prevailing forms of governance produce multifaceted inequalities through a relational analysis of how residents from different parts of the city interact with the authorities and with each other. The study shows how residents’ tactics to accommodate, reconfigure and contest institutional endeavors to place them in hierarchical positions link to their differentiated ways of constructing urban space.
  • Anderzén, Janica (Helsingfors universitet, 2015)
    A plant disease called coffee rust, caused by a fungus (Hemileia vastatrix), swept across coffee lands of Central America and Mexico in 2012. It turned into the most severe coffee rust epidemic ever experienced in the region, having serious impacts on coffee farmers livelihoods. The aim of this Master s thesis was to gain knowledge of small-scale coffee farmers perceptions of coffee rust and their responses to it. These farmers belong to Maya Vinic coffee cooperative of indigenous smallholders operating in Chiapas, Mexico. This case study applied an ethnographically-oriented livelihoods approach, influenced by Participatory Action Research (PAR). The data was gathered between March and May 2014, and consists of 24 semi- structured interviews, informal discussions, and observations. In analyzing the data, a modified version of Frank Ellis Framework for Livelihood Analysis was utilized. This study found that all the farmers had some knowledge about coffee rust, and they perceived the epidemic as a major livelihood shock. Coffee rust was causing damage to farmer households central livelihood asset, coffee trees, leading to crop losses and a decline in the annual income. A drop in income compelled many households to cut back on consumption goods and basic food expenditure, and was likely to affect their capacity to invest in productive assets. The situation caused anxiety and confusion among farmers. The results show that despite of the heightened risk of crop losses in the forthcoming production cycles, coffee farmers were determined to continue with coffee production. The control methods they were applying, such as different cultural methods, aimed at securing the role of coffee farming as a key livelihood activity also in the future. Alternative livelihood activities seemed to have less importance in coping with the epidemic. These findings suggest that not only economic but also cultural and social factors play an important role in livelihood construction. The findings further show that certain forms of capital may either hinder or facilitate households efforts to cope with coffee rust. In particular, limited landholdings ( natural capital ), and constrained access to different sources of information and education ( human capital ) proved to be limiting factors, while membership in Maya Vinic ( social capital ) helped to buffer negative impacts of the epidemic, and prepare for the future. This study suggests that stakeholders perceptions and the notion of social capital deserve more attention in different livelihood approaches. It also calls for more research and cross-sectoral initiatives which would aim at assisting small-scale coffee farmers in coping with coffee rust. These efforts should be keyed to work on climate change adaptation.
  • Kara, Hanna (Helsingfors universitet, 2006)
    Women's international migration without documents is a social phenomenon with large global significance. It is also an everyday reality in which people search for concrete solutions to global problems. In this study my aim is to bring this reality forward through the experiences of 26 Latin-American women who have failed either in their attempt to travel through Mexico to the United States without the necessary documents, or in their attempt to live and work in Mexico without a permit, and were thereby held inside the detention centre in Mexico City while waiting to be deported. This study aims at listening to what they have to say. As a writer, I start by examining international migration as a social and societal phenomenon. I move forward to the concrete experiences of the women inside the walls of the detention centre. Women's experiences are then mirrored back to studies and theories on international migration and to the general discussion around the phenomenon. The study concentrates in women's international migration on the move and, at the same time, in the moment of detention. This moment has not been examined or explored in most of the investigation on international migration. Through women's experiences I also wish to grasp a glimpse of the clienthood formed inside the overcrowded detention centres for migrants in the borders of the world's rich and poor. Mexico is situated at this type of a border and is thereby an interesting place to study international migration. Women's interviews were semi-structured. The analysis reflects the premises of standpoint theory, which concentrates on the knowledge and subjectivity of the everyday actor. At times the interviews reflected previous investigations, but different aspects of the discussion were also challenged, such as presentations of the women in undocumented migration as victims, 'illegals' or criminals. Women had left their countries in order to find work and in doing so also challenged investigations that see men as sole or primary actors in migration. Migration was often represented as a sacrifice for the future of the family and, specifically, for that of their children, thus leaving any personal goals in the background. Separation from the children produced feelings of guilt. In general, women's networks for migration were limited. Loss of freedom, loss of control over one's situation, loss of individuality and time that seemed endless stood out as difficult aspects inside the detention centre. Lack of official documents and status led to conflicts between the individual and the surrounding society. Women expressed disappointment and desperation because of the failed attempt, but also a new strength achieved through this ordeal. Many stated that they were going to try again. In the study theories and studies on international migration, social work studies, gender studies and Latin American studies intervene. Interviews with different grass root actors involved in the work inside the migration centre are also used as references.
  • Nygren, Anja (2021)
    Water-related disasters have become more unpredictable amidst human-induced climatic and hydroecological changes, with profound effects on people inhabiting fragile river basins. In this article, I analyse drastic waterscape transformations and people's differentiated exposure to water-related vulnerabilities in the Grijalva River lower basin, southeastern Mexico, focusing on how state authority is reinforced through waterscape alterations and how altered waterscapes shape state-making and scalar politics. Examining interlinkages between 1) state-making and governance; 2) resource-making and politics of scale; and 3) hazard-making and the dynamics of socionature, the article contributes to scholarly and development practice discussions on environmental vulnerability. I argue that the goals of consolidating state power and promoting development through massive waterscape changes and resource extractions have provoked hazards that are difficult to control, resulting in differentiated distribution of environmental benefits and burdens. Drawing on archival research, documentary analysis, thematic interviews, and ethnographic fieldwork, the study illustrates the overlapping and cumulative effects of state-making, politics of scale, and the dynamics of socionature on socially differentiated vulnerability. Although the forms of governance shift over time, statecraft as a mode of consolidating state authority and controlling lower basin environments and residents persists. The government prevents social mobilisation through political persuasion and pressure, and disciplines residents to adapt to altered waterscapes, while allowing few changes in prevalent power structures. Simultaneously, the study demonstrates that water cannot be controlled by political rules and requisites, while local residents reinterpret dominant ways of governing through claim-making, negotiation, everyday resistance, and situational improvisation, albeit within unequal power relations. The study enhances understanding of water-related vulnerabilities resulting from recurrent, yet temporally remoulded agendas of state-making combined with socially differentiating politics of scaling and the dynamics of socionature, which altogether reformulate human-nonhuman interactions and make local smallholders and pen-urban poor increasingly vulnerable to floods. (c) 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
  • Pylvänäinen, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This thesis studies the discourses of power and anti-violence activism related to feminicides in Mexico. Feminicides are defined as killings of women because of their gender. Although feminicides have existed throughout the history of Mexico, the issue became a focus of attention among the masses nearly 30 years ago because of the wave of violence in Ciudad Juárez. Today, according to the official data of the State, three women are victims of feminicides in Mexico daily. However, the number is most likely substantially higher given the underreporting of feminicides and that some states still do not distinguish them as separate crimes from homicides. It is estimated that approximately ten women are killed as victims of feminicides in Mexico every day. The theoretical framework for this study is rooted in the Foucauldian scholarship of power. More precisely, Michel Foucault’s theory of power as relational or productive and the idea of power being everywhere but nowhere, in particular, imposes the principal understanding of how violence is implicated in multiple structures of power relations. The study was conducted in the form of semi-structured interviews, with data being gathered by interviewing six feminist activists who are working against feminicides in Mexico. After this, the interviews were analysed with methods of discourse analysis. The study finds the total of five main discourses with their sub-discourses: 1. Structures (Patriarchal culture and Deficient understanding), 2. The State (Politics and Impunity), 3. Truth (Bending truth and Clash of genders) 4. Pervasive violence, and 5. Women’s networks. The results of the analysis suggest that the power related to violence against women comes indeed from everywhere: power comes from structures of the society, from education, from the State and the law (and impunity), from the truth (or what we accept as truth), from non-State agents such as criminal organisations and women themselves. They are all connected so that even criminal organisations and politicians are interweaved in the same network of power, and in the case of Mexico, not even very far from each other. Women themselves exercise power through relations, networks and cooperation and this is the dimension of power that women consider their most important asset. To keep themselves secure in a potentially hostile environment, activist women maintain a set of safety rules and regulations that they follow in their everyday lives. In conclusion, power influencing violence against women is located deep in the patriarchal structures and practices in Mexico. This is why it is challenging to tackle the problem of continuing gendered violence in Mexico: it does not have any centre. This means that also globalised networks of organised crime, as well as the overall patriarchal culture, influence on discourses that power and gender-based violence are given. Also, it is noteworthy that power should not be considered only oppressive or dominating as that interpretation would give women only the role of passive victims. Women also possess power that they exercise through social relations and collective activist networks. In sum, this research contributes to a deeper understanding of feminicides and violence against women in Mexico. Furthermore, through the unique interview data, the results collect valuable information on all the main challenges that are hampering the activists’ work against violence.