Political subsystems in Oaxaca’s <i>Usos y Costumbres</i> municipalities

Carlos Sorroza Polo and Michael S. Danielson

in Latin America's Multicultural Movements

Published in print March 2013 | ISBN: 9780199936267
Published online May 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199333066 | DOI:
Political subsystems in Oaxaca’s Usos y Costumbres municipalities

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Policies such as the recognition of usos y constumbres (UC) in Oaxaca, Mexico, purport to extend the right to self-determination to Indigenous communities. But traditional systems of community service have been modified due to migration, education, and pressures from an external socio-cultural system that values individualism and rejects the collective. Using original municipal-level survey data, this chapter examines the civil and religious service backgrounds mayors, and proposes a typology of subsystems of UC municipalities in the state. The pathway mayors take to power is an important indicator of the degree to which communities have maintained their traditional organizational structures, in which many years of religious and civil service to the community through the cargo system are required to reach higher levels of authority. The analysis moves beyond such overly simplistic dichotomies as UC vs. political party system or Indigenous vs. Mestizo and demonstrates the internal diversity among UC municipalities.

Keywords: recognition; usos y costumbres; Oaxaca, Mexico; mayors; cargo system; indigenous communities, mayors

Chapter.  10494 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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