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Spatial crossings: gender, race and politics in Yucatecan Maya municipalities

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Challenging conventional understandings of Mexican politics, this article focuses on how bodily and spatial understandings of gender, race and ethnicity effected how female indigenous mayors were perceived by constituents once elected and how these women responded to those reactions. I argue that public municipal spaces in rural Yucatán are key components in articulating notions of gender, race and ethnicity. Female indigenous mayors challenge discourses of power in Mexico that place female and indigenous bodies as inadequate to occupy city hall. The material changes female mayors made in their municipalities are subtle yet important ways to trace new democratic changes at a local level. Through the case study of female indigenous mayors, I wish to bring together theoretical arguments about racial and ethnic performances and the corporeality of the body in politics outside Western democracies. Understanding ‘the body’ in relation to the space it occupies allows us to see municipal public places such as city hall and the main square as performative spaces embedded in multiple power relations. In this sense, this article aids in comprehending how newly elected female indigenous mayors alter notions concerning the space specific gendered, ethnically racialised bodies occupy.
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Keywords: Gender; Yucatán; politics; race; space

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

Publication date: October 3, 2018

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