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Topographies of citizenship: Purhépechan Mexican women claiming political subjectivities

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A variety of politics are waged through recourse to the language of 'citizenship' and 'democracy': from George W. Bush's selling of free trade for the Americas by invoking freedom and democracy, to the calls for citizenship and equality by popular movements throughout Latin America and other regions. This article links these paradoxical and transnational constructions of 'citizenship' to the daily economic and political struggles of indigenous women in rural Mexico. A transnational and what Cindi Katz calls a 'topographical' analysis of local processes deepens and complicates our understanding of local changes as they articulate with global dynamics, and it transforms how we conceptualize the global. Drawing on an ethnography of local gendered political transformation in Cherán, Mexico, I map processes visible locally onto spatialities of power and meaning across scales, weaving together various symbolic and material processes--the intentional actions and negotiations of individual women; the history of Cherán as a place and community; neoliberal economic globalization; and the effects of profoundly gendered and racialized nationalisms--in order to produce a situated knowledge of global citizenship politics. This approach highlights how women in Cherán, situated within global political economic relations and the symbolic horizons of 'modernity', transform the meaning and practice of citizenship and political subjectivity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography University of Oregon Eugene OR USA

Publication date: 01 June 2004

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