Communitarian weavings: Agrarian commons of the Maya-Q’eqchi’ against the expansion of monocultures in the Polochic Valley, Guatemala

Sara Mingorría*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Maya-Q’eqchi’ are the people that occupy the most territory in Guatemala and that historically, like other indigenous peoples, have resisted multiple waves of dispossession through ‘communitarian weavings’ and by maintaining their sacred relationship with the land and maize. In this article, I analyze how and why temporary and long-lasting ‘agrarian commons’ are created and reproduced as part of the communitarian weavings of the Maya-Q’eqchi’ in the Polochic Valley, Guatemala. I show how the reproduction of the Maya-Q’eqchi’ agrarian commons has been, and still is today, the basis of resistance to the new wave of dispossession caused by the expansion of sugarcane and oil palm monocultures owned by oligarchic families of German descent. Despite the commons being the reproduction of a form of struggle characteristic of the Maya-Q’eqchi’, there are multiple differences of functioning and structure of the agrarian commons between territories inhabited by the Maya-Q’eqchi’, as well as within the same territory. These differences are conditioned by the different identities reconfigured by history and by socio-economic and environmental dynamics, as well as by the structure and operation of the commons itself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-211
Number of pages22
JournalLatin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • commoning practices
  • Commons
  • Maya-Q’eqhi’
  • oil palm
  • resistance
  • sugarcane

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