Human Rights in the Maya Region: Global Politics, Cultural Contentions, and Moral Engagements

Human Rights in the Maya Region: Global Politics, Cultural Contentions, and Moral Engagements

By: Pedro Pitarch (editor), Xochitl Leyva Solano (editor), Shannon Speed (contributor)Paperback

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In recent years Latin American indigenous groups have regularly deployed the discourse of human rights to legitimate their positions and pursue their goals. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the Maya region of Chiapas and Guatemala, where in the last two decades indigenous social movements have been engaged in ongoing negotiations with the state, and the presence of multinational actors has brought human rights to increased prominence. In this volume, scholars and activists examine the role of human rights in the ways that states relate to their populations, analyze conceptualizations and appropriations of human rights by Mayans in specific localities, and explore the relationship between the individualist and "universal" tenets of Western-derived concepts of human rights and various Mayan cultural understandings and political subjectivities. The collection includes a reflection on the effects of truth-finding and documenting particular human rights abuses, a look at how Catholic social teaching validates the human rights claims advanced by indigenous members of a diocese in Chiapas, and several analyses of the limitations of human rights frameworks. A Mayan intellectual seeks to bring Mayan culture into dialogue with western feminist notions of women's rights, while another contributor critiques the translation of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights into Tzeltal, an indigenous language in Chiapas. Taken together, the essays reveal a broad array of rights-related practices and interpretations among the Mayan population, demonstrating that global-local-state interactions are complex and diverse even within a geographically limited area. So too are the goals of indigenous groups, which vary from social reconstruction and healing following years of violence to the creation of an indigenous autonomy that challenges the tenets of neoliberalism. Contributors: Robert M. Carmack, Stener Ekern, Christine Kovic, Xochitl Leyva Solano, Julian Lopez Garcia, Irma Otzoy, Pedro Pitarch, Alvaro Reyes, Victoria Sanford, Rachel Sieder, Shannon Speed, Rodolfo Stavenhagen, David Stoll, Richard Ashby Wilson

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About Author

Pedro Pitarch is Professor of Anthropology at the Complutense University in Madrid. His books include Ch'ulel: una etnografia de las almas tzeltales. Shannon Speed is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of Rights in Rebellion: Indigenous Struggle and Human Rights in Chiapas and a co-editor of Dissident Women: Gender and Cultural Politics in Chiapas. Xochitl Leyva Solano is a researcher and professor at the Centro de Investigaciones e Estudios Superiores en Antropologia Social (CIESAS) in Chiapas, Mexico. She is the author of Poder y desarrollo regional and a co-editor of Encuentros Antropologicos: Power, Identity, and Mobility in Mexican Society.


Abbreviations vii Introduction / Shannon Speed and Xochitl Leyva Solano 1 Part 1: Global Politics and Nation-States 1. Cultural Rights and Human Rights: A Social Science Perspective / Rodolfo Stavenhagen 27 2. Perspectives on the Politics of Human Rights in Guatemala / Robert M. Carmack 51 3. Legal Globalization and Human Rights: Constructing the Rule of Law in Postconflict Guatemala? / Rachel Sieder 67 Part 2: Cultural Contentions 4. The Labyrinth of Translation: A Tzeltal Version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights / Pedro Pitarch 91 5. Are Human Rights Destroying the Natural Balance of All Things? The Difficult Encounter between International Law and Community Law in Mayan Guatemala / Stener Ekern 123 6. "Here It's Different": The Ch'orti' and Human Rights Training / Julian Lopez Garcia 145 7. Indigenous Law and Gender Dialogues / Irma Otzoy 171 8. Human Rights, Land Conflicts, and Memory of the Violence in the Ixil Country of Northern Quiche / David Stoll 187 Part 3: Political Engagements 9. Global Discourses on the Local Terrain: Human Rights in Chiapas / Shannon Speed and Xochitl Leyva Solano 207 10. Breaking the Reign of Silence: Ethnography of a Clandestine Cemetery / Victoria Sanford 233 11. Rights of the Poor: Progressive Catholicism and Indigenous Resistance in Chiapas / Christine Kovic 257 12. "Asumiendo Nuestra Propia Defensa": Resistance and the Red de Defensores Comunitarios in Chiapas / Shannon Speed and Alvaro Reyes 279 Final Comments Making Rights Meaningful for Mayas: Reflections on Culture, Rights, and Power / Richard Ashby Wilson 305 References 323 Contributors 357 Index 361

Product Details

  • publication date: 05/12/2008
  • ISBN13: 9780822343134
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 392
  • ID: 9780822343134
  • weight: 544
  • ISBN10: 0822343134

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