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Fighting For and Fighting Through Electricity : an Ethnography of the Civil Resistance Movement "Luz y Fuerza del Pueblo" from Chiapas, Mexico

Abstract : The thesis is about the Civil Resistance Movement "Luz y Fuerza del Pueblo", from Chiapas, Mexico. It was born in the first years of the 2000s and the majority of its activists are peasant and indigenous. Though, it can't be defined as a "peasant movement", nor as an "indigenous movement. At the core of its mission there is electricity, indeed, which the Movement considers as a basic right, whose access – it claims - should be universal and nondiscriminatory. Accordingly, in the territories controlled by its activists, the Movement performs a direct access to the power grid and an autonomous management of it. Yet, at the same time, it makes use of electricity as a means of wider political struggle aimed to autonomy and social justice. In this sense, Luz y Fuerza case may be revealing of a more general trend potentially informing social mobilizations in the Age of Anthropocene. The work is organized in three parts. The first part introduces contemporary Mexico, by means of the main categories local actors mobilized to describe their living conditions: poverty, liberal policies, structural violence, and socioeconomic and political exclusion. The second part defines the state of the art in the anthropology of social movements and the main theoretical references inspiring the study. Specifically, the historical and epistemological process leading to the emergence of autonomy as a theoretical and political paradigm is retraced. And it is shown how this latter has progressively informed Latin-American peasant struggles since the last decades of the 1900s. The third part is completely devoted to the ethnography of Luz y Fuerza del Pueblo. This provides an in-depth representation of the Movement and of its history. Which is followed by an analysis of the motivations for the activists to militate in such a movement. Its political agenda is therefore investigated. The experiences, the forms and the imaginaries of the civil resistance performed by the Movement are eventually observed. In the conclusions, the work proposes some critical insights about the policies on indigenous people and Chiapas, implemented by the "socialist" president Andrés Manuel López Obrador during the first hundred days of his term.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 12:08:09 PM
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Umberto Cao. Fighting For and Fighting Through Electricity : an Ethnography of the Civil Resistance Movement "Luz y Fuerza del Pueblo" from Chiapas, Mexico. Social Anthropology and ethnology. Università degli studi (Milan, Italie), 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019EHES0092⟩. ⟨tel-02624604⟩



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