Indigenous Peoples and the Geographies of Power: Mezcala’s Narratives of Neoliberal Governance, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Indigenous Peoples and the Geographies of Power

Mezcala’s Narratives of Neoliberal Governance, 1st Edition

By Inés Durán Matute


228 pages | 20 B/W Illus.

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Tracing key trends of the global-regional-local interface of power, Inés Durán Matute through the case of the indigenous community of Mezcala (Mexico) demonstrates how global political economic processes shape the lives, spaces, projects and identities of the most remote communities. Throughout the book, in-depth interviews, participant observations and text collection, offer the reader insight into the functioning of neoliberal governance, how it is sustained in networks of power and rhetorics deployed, and how it is experienced. People, as passively and actively participate in its courses of action, are being enmeshed in these geographies of power seeking out survival strategies, but also constructing autonomous projects that challenge such forms of governance.  

This book, by bringing together the experience of a geopolitical locality and the literature from the Latin American Global South into the discussions within the Global Northern academia, offers an original and timely transdisciplinary approach that challenges the interpretations of power and development while also prioritizing and respecting the local production of knowledge.


'Strongly committed to collaborating with the people of Mezcala and letting us hear their voices, this insightful book explores the local and transnational drivers of an ethnogenesis that resists state denial of their indigeneity. Offering a rich analysis of how neoliberal governmentality transforms society, Durán Matute shows how experiences linked to racism, Mexican political culture, the regional political economy, and consolidation of a migrant diaspora in the United States promote social divisions and contradictory ideas about "development" and "progress," but also produce new kinds of counter-movements in defence of indigenous identities and patrimony.' - John Gledhill, Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology, The University of Manchester

'Weaving together granular field research and theoretically sophisticated analysis, Inés Durán Matute has delivered an outstanding place-based account of neoliberal governance in Mexico and how space is configured by the relation of local power structures, transnational migration, tourist development, and indigenous identity.' - Adam David Morton, University of Sydney, author of Revolution and State in Modern Mexico: The Political Economy of Uneven Development

Table of Contents


[Rocío Moreno]


[Jorge Alonso]


1. The Local Impact of Political Culture

2. The Local Workings of a Global Political Economy

3. The Transnationalisation Of Informal Power: Setting the Path to ‘Progress’

4. Tourism: A Fight to Define Progress

5. Identities Across Borders: Legitimising or Challenging Stratifications?



[John Holloway]

About the Author

Inés Durán Matute, a doctoral graduate of the University of Sydney, Australia, is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIESAS), Mexico.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / Caribbean & Latin American
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Indigenous Studies