Ethnic Mobilization among the Maya of Yucatán Today
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While the literature on indigenous political mobilization in Latin America is now quite extensive, relatively little has been published on why ethnic mobilization has not occurred in some indigenous regions. In this article, I examine a case where there is very little mobilization and organization around ethnic identity: Yucatán, Mexico. I begin with a political history of Yucatán, comparing it with and contrasting it to Chiapas. I then argue that ethnic mobilization in Yucatán is significantly limited for two main reasons: first, Maya peasants had so little relative autonomy under the corporatist regime (1940s–1980s) and official peasant leagues that they were constrained in using the experience garnered in these leagues for subsequent ethnic-based organization; and second, the social organizations and networks that provide activists and potential activists with the capacity to mobilize – namely, peasant leagues and the progressive Catholic Church – have not served as vehicles for leadership training and organization in Yucatán.