Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Lee D Walker

Abstract

The current study applied the rich models outlined in the peasant mobilization literature with regard to the influence of the structure of the state and the economic relationships formed between classes to a different population: the Maya of Mexico and Guatemala. The study also expanded the types of political behaviors chosen by this population, beyond revolution and revolt. The study examined one historically and culturally connected population in two different state structures, one strong (Mexico) and one weak (Guatemala) to suggest state influence informs political behavior choices. The economic resource in the current study, tourism, as opposed to 'land' in previous peasant literature, was disaggregated into two economic environments: indigenous dependent tourism (tourism areas where one has the expectation of interaction with indigenous people) and other types of tourism (often referred to as 'sun, sand and sea' tourism) where the presence of indigenous people is not the motivation for the location selection.

The findings suggest that the Maya are rational and savvy political actors who behave in concert as the previous peasant literature suggests in identification of the "oppressor" and the identification of confederates and, additionally, that both the strength of the state and the economic environment inform their political behavior choices. The current study suggests that these choices are determined by the calculation of risks and costs of the various behaviors available, the availability of which is suggested to be determined by the state structure, but the specific behaviors chosen within these available choices are informed by the economic environment.

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