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Latin America's Multicultural MovementsThe Struggle Between Communitarianism, Autonomy, and Human Rights$
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Todd A. Eisenstadt, Michael S. Danielson, Moises Jaime Bailon Corres, and Carlos Sorroza Polo

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199936267

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199936267.001.0001

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Community strength and customary law

Community strength and customary law

Explaining migrant participation in indigenous Oaxaca

(p.192) 8 Community strength and customary law
Latin America's Multicultural Movements

Michael S. Danielson

Oxford University Press

This chapter assesses the range of practices employed by Indigenous communities and authorities in Oaxaca’s usos y costumbres (UC) municipalities in response to the many challenges posed by migration. Based on analysis of original survey data, the chapter shows that migrants are often required to continue to fulfill their obligations to the community under the cargo system and to make financial contributions to public works projects after leaving, and often suffer sanctions when they fail to do so. At the same time, however, communities that engage in these punitive and illiberal practices are better able to preserve a degree of unity than other high-migration communities, and are more successful in channeling migrant collective remittances toward potentially development-enhancing public works projects. Finally, former migrants are found to be overrepresented in positions of authority, suggesting that they are not merely victims of rights violations but are also empowered members of their municipalities.

Keywords:   migration, indigenous communities, usos y costumbres, cargo system, collective remittances, development

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