The Receiving End of Reform: Everyday Responses to Neoliberalisation in Southeastern Mexico



Abstract:  This article builds upon the literature on neoliberalism and environment as well as studies on community forestry by examining the creative accommodations that rural producers have made in navigating Mexico's neoliberal turn. In contrast to previous work that emphasizes macro-level processes (eg privatization of public natural resources) and local resistance, I employ Bourdieu's theory of practice to examine the symbolic and material dimensions of local responses to neoliberal policy reform. Drawing on research from nine communities in the state of Quintana Roo, I argue that local producers have accommodated neoliberal policies and programs by adopting hybrid logics, property regimes, forms of organization, and modes of exchange. Moreover, I contend that these creative responses constitute elements of a longstanding “culture of accommodation” to institutional change that predates Mexico's neoliberal reforms.