Abstract/Details

(Re)-territorializing the Maya commons: Conservation complexities in highland Guatemala


2008 2008

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Abstract (summary)

This dissertation is the result of geographic research combining several years of study of Guatemalan culture, society, and history with approximately eight months of fieldwork. Through this work I have sought to explain the social and environmental transformations of Maya communal lands in the Guatemalan highlands over time, with special reference to one particular tract of communal lands and its partial incorporation as an inhabited park into the country's national system of protected areas. I draw on theoretical and methodological frameworks from the geographic sub-discipline political ecology in order to better understand the complex and contested terrain of environmental conservation in an indigenous people's homeland.

The focus of the dissertation is a case study, grounded in local and regional history and geography, of the evolution of land tenure and management of the communal forests and grazing lands of the Sierra Madre in the county of Totonicapan. The communal lands of the K'iche' Maya people of Totonicapan have been widely acknowledged as some of the best protected in the Central American region. Yet the issues that confront land managers and those who depend on the commons for livelihood and sustenance have grown increasingly complicated, involving conflicts and shifting alliances between state management agencies, national and international nongovernmental organizations and local communities, and reflecting diverse perspectives on conservation and development. The creation of a protected area in the region in 1997 that encompassed part or all of nine major settlements and as many as 20,000 K'iche' inhabitants raised serious questions regarding the future, not only of Maya communal lands, but of the Maya of Guatemala in general given the interconnectedness of Maya identity and communal land tenure. Weaving together some of the diverse strands that inform the political ecology approach—especially environmental history, political economy, cultural ecology, and post-structuralism—I seek to represent the creation of the Regional Municipal Park Los Altos de San Miguel Totonicapan as the result of a complex intersection of local, regional, national and global forces, and by doing so, to contribute to discussions of the park's future that better reflect this complexity.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Geography;
Social structure;
Native American studies
Classification
0366: Geography
0700: Social structure
0740: Native American studies
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences, Commons, Conservation, Environmental history, Guatemala, Indigenous peoples, Maya, Political ecology
Title
(Re)-territorializing the Maya commons: Conservation complexities in highland Guatemala
Author
Conz, Brian W.
Number of pages
259
Publication year
2008
Degree date
2008
School code
0118
Source
DAI-A 69/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9780549916086
Advisor
Stevens, Stanley F.
Committee member
Gudmundson, Lowell W.; Hafner, James A.
University/institution
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Department
Geosciences
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3337021
ProQuest document ID
304565607
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/304565607
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