Home Institution

The University of Virginia

Publication Date

Fall 2021

Program Name

Mexico: Migration, Borders, and Transnational Communities


Over the past century, the Mexican government has continued to reproduce dominant, colonial relationships with its indigenous populations. Within the last few decades, clashes between harmful neoliberal visions of national development and continued demands for indigenous autonomy have only intensified. In the context of such events, this present work seeks to explore a specific conception of community identity, coined as la comunalidad, in the Sierra Norte region of Oaxaca. After the breakdown of its most fundamental tenets, I will attempt to both underscore its position as a framework of resistance in combatting historical and ongoing state-organized aggressions against these communities, as well as its fundamental role in the subsequent construction of various aspects of local autonomy. Finally, I will look towards internally defined challenges to the reproduction of such models of community organization. Throughout the paper, special attention will be paid to the contemporary and global value of such alternative community development strategies for the re-imagining of more harmonious social and environmental futures.


Civic and Community Engagement | Development Studies | Indigenous Studies | Latin American History | Latin American Languages and Societies | Latin American Studies | Peace and Conflict Studies | Politics and Social Change | Social Justice


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