Authority, Expertise, and Power in Mexican Forests
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: The MIT Press
Title Page, Copyright
As our understanding of environmental threats deepens and broadens, it is increasingly clear that many environmental issues cannot be simply understood, analyzed, or acted on. The multifaceted relationships among human beings, social and political institutions, and the physical environment..
Anthropologists know that debts can be powerful and that they can establish enduring social relationships. If this is so, I am rich in the many debts that I have incurred in writing this book. Although I alone am responsible for errors and mistakes, I have been influenced by many...
Glossary of Institutions
Around the world, the troubles of modernity seem to call for more knowledge, greater transparency, increased oversight by states, or increased inspection of states by active publics. It is often claimed that citizens should want to know more, perhaps in order to call governments...
2. Building Forestry in Mexico: Ambitious Regulations and Popular Evasions
Over the last 200 years, governments all over the world have taken up the burden of knowing, managing, and protecting nature, accompanied by the task of developing economies and caring for citizens. Most citizens, of First or Third World countries alike, now take it for granted that the state is responsible...
3. The Sierra Juárez of Oaxaca: Mobile Landscapes, Political Economy, and the Fires of War
Standing at the crest of the Sierra Juárez, one feels far from cities, governments, and forestry bureaucracies. Range after range of fir and pineclad mountains recede into the distance (see figure 3.1). The air is cool, the tropical sun stingingly hot. At first this might feel like a forest in Arizona or...
4. Forestry Comes to Oaxaca: Bureaucrats, Gangsters, and Indigenous Communities, 1926 – 1956
The pine forests of Oaxaca may appear peaceful, but they are not always so. When forestry science began to travel from Mexico City to the provinces in the 1920s and 1930s, forestry bureaucrats based in the city of Oaxaca encountered a tangled web of political intrigue. Struggles to gain control of...
5. Industrial Forestry, Watershed Control, and the Rise of Community Forestry, 1956–2001
In the end, the Mexican state lost its patience with the small logging companies. It had had enough of violent conflicts and tax evasion by wildcat loggers, enough of the disorderly habits of rural people who burned forests and degraded the environment and who lied or evaded visiting officials...
6. The Mexican Forest Service: Knowledge, Ignorance, and Power
In November 2000, I attended a convention on community forestry in a hotel on the outskirts of the city of Oaxaca. For three days, government officials, scientists, and the occasional NGO representative occupied an elevated stage and presented their views on the state of Oaxaca’s forests before an audience...
7. The Acrobatics of Transparency and Obscurity: Forestry Regulations Travel to Oaxaca
State mandates to control forests and protect nature do not travel smoothly through the world. On the contrary, knowledge is continually remade, a practice in translation, rather than an item that travels smoothly from a forestry laboratory or a government office. In the end, a small number...
8. Working the Indigenous Industrial
Let us return for one last time to the community of Ixtlán to look at how indigenous people and their community institutions entangle distant pine forests with the content of national forestry statistics and the stability of federal forestry institutions. A central argument of this book is that what appear to be...
This book has described how the science of forestry traveled to Mexico, how it came to be institutionalized by the expanding Mexican forest service, and how, ultimately, forestry was domesticated and turned against the state by particular indigenous forest communities in the state...