“Tocar puertas”: Indigenous power, NGOs and post-war development in Guatemala

Andrea Freddi

Abstract


The ethnographic case upon which this article is based concerns a project of “governability strengthening” implemented in the indigenous municipality of Todos Santos Cuchumatán by an international NGO. Throughout the voices of the NGO functionaries as well as those of the local authorities, I want to bring to surface the implications of a misunderstanding concerning hegemonic ways of perceiving Maya’s otherness that are implied in multicultural neoliberalism, the new form of governance adopted by post-war Guatemala. The article focuses particularly on a performance of democratic skills that highlights an indigenous ritual appropriation of the development discourse, resulting in a process of acculturation/resistance. The article explores the ways local indigenous leadership is redefined as the capacity of mediating between the humanitarian reason of the International Cooperation, where the majority of the resources lies, and community rules of prestige and power, which is ultimately where their legitimacy comes.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7340/anuac2239-625X-3055

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-22738

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