Twenty-Seven: A Case Study in Ejido Privatization in Mexico

David Yetman, Alberto Búrquez

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Abstract

Changes in 1992 to Article 27 of Mexico's Constitution permitted the privatization of former collectively owned lands (ejidos). In 1996 governmental officials arrived in Tecoripa, a small livestock ejido village in Sonora, to assist ejidatarios (ejido members) in deciding whether to privatize. The ejidatarios struggled with two problems simultaneously: whether to privatize and whether to increase the size of their individual parcels from ten to twenty-seven hectares, thereby decreasing the amount of communally owned lands. A key motive force in the ejido's decision has been the ejidatarios' desire to increase individual cattle production. This would be accomplished by clearing the native forest and creating an artificial grassland by planting buffelgrass, an African exotic. Ejidatarios believe that by privatizing, expanding their individual holdings, and creating grassland, they will become more prosperous. In Tecoripa they have sought the twin goals of privatizing and expanding their parcels. Their confidence in gaining increased wealth through expanded cattle production is based on inadequate information, however. Ecological variables and economic forces pose grave threats to the long-term viability of their private initiative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-95
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Anthropological Research
Volume54
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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