Subordinated Autonomy and the Political Inclusion of Women in Indigenous Mexico

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3 Scopus citations


This article explores the tension between multicultural legal reforms and the liberal state-building project in present-day Mexico. Specifically, it traces the process by which the Mexican state challenged and eventually forced changes to customary restrictions on women in public life in some indigenous communities in the southern state of Oaxaca. The study argues that the act of formalizing autonomy for indigenous communities, in the context of Mexico's homogenizing neoliberal state, had the unanticipated effect of exposing exclusionary practices to state scrutiny, which eventually forced those communities to recognize women's political rights. Thus the effort to protect indigenous practices facilitated the territorial and juridical expansion of the Mexican state into formerly autonomous areas of the countryside.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-64
Number of pages21
JournalLatin American Politics and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Autonomy
  • Mexico
  • Oaxaca
  • courts
  • indigenous politics
  • liberalism
  • multiculturalism
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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