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'Mandar Obedeciendo' (Rule by Obeying): The Construction of Citizenship from Below

Avalos-Pelaez, Martha (2017) 'Mandar Obedeciendo' (Rule by Obeying): The Construction of Citizenship from Below. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the construction of political subjectivity by the Zapatista. The Zapatista uprising gained academic and media attention not only because it was another example of the ‘new social movements’ and the resurgence of the left in Latin America, but also because the Zapatistas aimed to have a revolution without assuming state power. Since then, several approaches have been used to study the Zapatistas, ranging from gender studies to class struggle and social movements. Although these approaches have helped to understand different perspectives of the Zapatismo, the study of the construction of the political subjectivity of the Zapatista through (political) performance has remained unexplored. Revolution for the Zapatistas is the possibility of another world. It is precisely the process of constructing ‘another world’ that this thesis studies, to understand the construction of political subjectivity from below. This thesis draws on Engin Isin’s theorisation of ‘acts of citizenship.’ Isin argues that ‘acts of citizenship’ are practices of any type that enable groups to claim rights (Isin & Nielsen 2008). As such, the focus is not on the group itself, but on the performances that enable the Zapatista to claim rights, rights which were previously denied or ignored, allowing them to be considered as political subjects. As the construction of political subjectivity is a process rooted in the performances of acts of citizenship, this thesis studies the events that lead to the enactment and the resonance of such acts. The findings show that the rejection of the state but simultaneous refusal to seek secession play an important part in the way in which this political subjectivity is constructed. Specifically, this position contributes to the creation of a public realm that allow the Zapatistas to transform modes and forms of being political that are distant to those of the state. This construction of new modes and forms in their public realm had given the Zapatistas agency to protect their rights, identity and act beyond and traversing the Mexican state.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: citizenship, Zapatista, EZLN, political subjectivity
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Geography (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.752591
Depositing User: Martha Avalos-Pelaez
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2018 12:42
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:55
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21190

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