Old regime habits die hard. Challenges to participatory governance in post-authoritarian Mexico

This contribution will provide ethnographic evidence about the mechanisms that prevent the development and exercise of bottom up anti-corruption actions among indigenous communities in the Mexican state of Chiapas. It is of wider relevance because many indigenous groups across Latin America share similar communal forms of association as well as experiences with their respective national states. The contribution structure is as follows. The first section includes a literature review and statement of the problem. The second section introduces the Mexican case, presenting background information on the history of the relationship between the Mexican state and rural indigenous communities. What follows is a discussion of the peculiarities of the case of Chiapas, the object of this study. The third section brings in ethnographic evidence illustrating two main areas in which local forms of social interactions and collective actions are not conducive for the implementation if conventional anti-corruption approaches. Two are the focuses: one is on the mechanisms of social control associated with the communitarianism and the experience with the punishment regimes of the Mexican corporatist authoritarian state.  Another is on local mechanisms of exercising power and demanding accountability find no institutional channels through which to be processed and addressed within the Mexican state.

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