Home Institution

Columbia University

Publication Date

Spring 2008

Program Name

Mexico: Grassroots Development and Social Change


This paper explores the way in which Oaxaca, Mexico’s traditional indigenous form of community organization and governance, the asamblea, has been appropriated and reconstituted in the urban context of Oaxaca city. While perhaps the most widely known adaptation of the asamblea was and continues to be the APPO - la Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca, I have focused upon a loosely organized group of 30- 40 street artists and their asamblea, ASARO - la Asamblea de Artistas Revolucionarios de Oaxaca. Fragmenting the text with image narrative, personal narrative, analysis, and direct quotation, I hope to convey the daily reality of ASARO and my experiences therein, both of which were (and continue to be) unpredictable. My project advisor was Gustavo Esteva. Esteva, a “deprofessionalized intellectual,” is the author of several books, including Grassroots Postmodernism: Remaking the Soil of Cultures (co-authored by Madhu Suri Prakash), along with several articles and accounts of the Oaxaca’s 2006 popular movement. Currently, Esteva holds a leading position at the civil association, Universidad de la Tierra (UniTierra). UniTierra is an experiment in alternative education whose projects, though diverse, have the promotion of sustainability, autonomy and auto-sufficiency as unifying goals.


Latin American Studies | Models and Methods | Political Science


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