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The Maya Solar of Yucatán: Transformations of Land, Livelihoods and Identities in Peri-Urban Settlements in Mexico

Cabrera Pacheco, Ana Julia (2016) The Maya Solar of Yucatán: Transformations of Land, Livelihoods and Identities in Peri-Urban Settlements in Mexico. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Over the last decade, the global struggles of indigenous peoples have become ever more visible. The thesis draws connections stemming from the ongoing existence and challenges of the Maya people of Yucatán in Mexico, not to the evident resistance of ongoing indigenous movements in the Americas, but to their endurance. Here, I examine the multiplicity of events occurring in the Maya solar of Yucatán, a house and garden plot that has historically supported an intricate indigenous system of land, livelihoods and identities. The solar is today under threat of extinction along with the way of life and the people it once fully sustained. This threat is itself a contested terrain as the current and historical endurance of the solar and of Maya peoples may be proof of their resilience. This thesis focuses on the unfolding transformations of the solar and the responses of Maya populations, gathered in Yucatán at different points between November 2013 and May 2015. Based on qualitative research that combines interviews and secondary documentary analysis, the research seeks to recognise and validate the human experience and situated knowledge of Maya populations. The data collected is interpreted through an overarching theoretical and methodological framework drawn from the Decoloniality perspective, which addresses the continuation of colonial powers within the modern world and highlights the historical denial of power, knowledge and being to native societies under the long-term effects of ‘coloniality’. Through the Decoloniality perspective, I contest and rework existing theoretical frameworks of ‘Primitive Accumulation’, ‘Latin American urban studies’, and ‘Indigenous Geographies’ in order to foreground indigenous and colonial questions from a political and epistemological Latin American perspective. Extensively, this research: 1) provides new evidence of the Maya’s plight, bringing to light their realities and their everyday life; 2) decolonises knowledge through further developing the Decoloniality perspective; and, 3) challenges the general understandings of Maya populations as a far more complex and contradictory than their usual dichotomous representation: as urban/rural, modern/traditional and indigenous/non-indigenous.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Geography (Leeds)
Depositing User: Ana J. Cabrera Pacheco
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2017 13:03
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2017 13:03
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/16604

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