“You Cannot Measure a Tzuultaq'a”: Cultural Politics at the Limits of Liberal Legibility
Article first published online: 10 DEC 2012
© 2012 The Author. Antipode© 2012 Antipode Foundation Ltd.
Volume 45, Issue 3, pages 584–601, June 2013
How to Cite
Ybarra, M. (2013), “You Cannot Measure a Tzuultaq'a”: Cultural Politics at the Limits of Liberal Legibility. Antipode, 45: 584–601. doi: 10.1111/anti.12000
- Issue published online: 12 APR 2013
- Article first published online: 10 DEC 2012
- Q’eqchi’ Maya;
Abstract: In the past two decades, many Latin American nations emerged from twin crises of debt and dictatorship towards an uncertain marriage of fragile democracies and neoliberal policies. The focus of this article is on recognition for a limited set of rights for indigenous peoples known as neoliberal multiculturalism. Through a case study of a sacred place declaration by Q’eqchi’ Maya activists in rural Guatemala, I show the limits of liberal legibility. If an organized group in struggle engaged with the neoliberal state on its terms, their goals and actions would necessarily be circumscribed to its limited scope for recognition. In this case, however, multicultural neoliberalism did not encompass the full spectrum of Q’eqchi’ political activism. I argue that Q’eqchi’ cultural politics goes beyond neoliberal limits, using spirituality and territoriality to signal a broader politics of transfiguration.