Author:Julia Murphy (Kwantlen Polytechnic University)
Paper short abstract:
How are understandings of neoliberalism and generational change intertwined in Campeche? How have neoliberal reforms been absorbed into daily life and discourses of sociality and change?
Paper long abstract:
I began fieldwork in Campeche, Mexico in 1996 when NAFTA and the Zapatista rebellion were two years old. To make itself eligible to join free trade agreements Mexico had been a poster child of neoliberal reforms, including selling off parastatal enterprises and revising the article of the constitution concerning agrarian reform. A great deal of social research was done predicting the impacts of the end of agrarian reform on small-scale agriculture and rural life. So much research, in fact, that in my doctoral research I shied away from writing about neoliberalism. But the evidence of its effects was everywhere. Returning to Campeche in 2016 to begin a new project I saw the effects of neoliberal reforms laid bare and exacerbated by climate change to make milpa agriculture more uncertain than ever. A new generation of young people has grown up disciplined through conditional cash transfers and similar programs in the ways they confront the uncertain promises of education, better health, tourism, and migration. How are understandings of neoliberalism and generational change intertwined? How have neoliberal reforms been absorbed into daily life and discourses of sociality and change in Calakmul?