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A living space: The relationship between land and property in the community



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Political Geography xxx 2010 1 2 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Political Geography journal homepage www elsevier com locate polgeo Guest Editorial A living space The relationship between land and property in the community Perhaps all of my hopes are nothing more than unfounded dreams Letter From Ricardo Flores Mag n to Miss Ellen White I belong to the community of Santa Cruz Yagavila in the Sierra de Ju rez in Oaxaca My umbilical cord is buried there as are those of my grandparents Perhaps I should say I am the community It is true that I belong to it as it belongs to me But each and every one of us is the community The community is nothing more than we ourselves it only exists in what we are We are a culturally speci c collective structured in a fabric tejido of social relations that is based on the principle of reciprocity It is a collective that occupies its own territory in a permanent manner The web of our relations becomes even more dense and complex through our participation in tequios communal labor assemblies and celebrations It is an open but obligatory participation one that af rms us as members of the community In this way we are a community in a communal territory cyclically reiterating our belonging by participating in the collective and by ful lling our responsibilities and obligations to it Land has been disputed across history because it is a communal good and one of the most important means of production and life To speak of the land means to think about how over the last few decades capital has sought to appropriate the forests the land the water and minerals in a way that can only be compared to the age of colonial extraction In colonial times we offered continued resistance Domination came packaged in a new religion and new political institutions For us both the packaging and its contents were expressions of strange foreign powers that tried to exercise their dominion over us We endured them for centuries as they occupied our



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