Displacement = Dis(Empowerment)?: Trade Liberalization and Mexico’s Indigenous Migrants

Through semi-structured interviews with current Mexican indigenous migrant men and women and extended family members, my dissertation inquiry focuses on how indigenous peoples – men and women – in Mexico have experienced (and continue to experience) the transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture. The core objective of my doctoral research is to bridge the existing gap in development and feminist literatures around understanding the impacts of “development tools”, such as trade liberalization on already marginalized peoples, particularly on multiple fronts (i.e., gender and race). Accounting for this generational difference in this project is intended to provide contrast in terms of experiences before and after the trade liberalization of Mexico’s agricultural industry, and the increased need to participate in migrant labour therein. I anticipate that pre-existing social and economic inequalities tied to gender and racial/ethnic status has intensified during the transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture since trade liberalization. I expect to find that migration has functioned, not only as a source of much-needed income for communities facing increasing poverty in their home communities, but has also resulted in tensions originating from competing social and economic needs within the family and in the community at large.

Candice Shaw
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Elaine Weiner
Project Year: 
Partner University: 
Colegio de Sonora, Hermosillo, Mexico