This article examines emerging forms of participation in a variety of spaces in Chiapas, in the south of Mexico.
Situated within a complex socio-political context, relations between marginalised groups, social movements and the government are articulated through experiences of participation both in “popular” and “invited” spaces. The Zapatista movement has fostered changes in relationships between marginalised groups, including indigenous people and women and the state, particularly the national government and recently created regional development programmes. These regional programmes represent the national government’s position on important issues, including the nature of socio-economic regional development, indigenous people’s rights and the protection of environmentally sensitive areas. Differences and commonalities in participation in “popular” spaces created by the Zapatista movement in autonomous municipalities, versus participation in formalised “invited” spaces within the government’s regional development programmes provide some important insights about the role of participation in bringing about change.
This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 35.2 (2004) Social Strategies and Public Policies in an Indigenous Zone in Chiapas, Mexico