“A Land of Theft”: Crime, Capitalist Development, and Implication in the Maya Riviera

Brandon Hunter-Pazzara, Anthropology

Wed, 10/07/2020 - 11:30am
via Zoom
Event Category: 
Graduate Students

To RSVP please email jrivkin@princeton.edu

LEGS, or "Law-Engaged Graduate Students," meets during the academic year to discuss a work in progress by one of our Graduate Associates. Academic papers, dissertation proposals, and dissertation chapters have been presented at these meetings, to an audience of fellow graduate students.

Abstract:  "This paper is the first body chapter in the dissertation and embarks on a reconsideration of tourism development in Quintana Roo, MX. Where previous studies have depicted tourism development as a top down scheme initiated by the Mexican government, my chapter highlights the role of other social actors, namely labor unions and organized criminal groups, in contributing to this development. I focus on two criminal relations which sit on either side of the law, land theft and drug dealing, and draw them together in this chapter to think about the economically generative effects of crime on the region. I argue that the entrenched and systemic nature of crime blurs the distinctions made between victims and perpetrators by illustrating how my interlocutors were directly and indirectly implicated in criminal relations. This, I propose, runs against prevailing theories of crime and security in Latin America which emphasize “rule of law” and criminal law enforcement as the chief mechanisms for addressing systemic corruption and crime. I argue, instead, for a theory of implication that better attends to the systemic nature of these problems, emphasizes restitution (over retribution), forgiveness, and an end to the drug war and the legalization of drugs.

This is a longer chapter, so for those with less time to devote to the whole I’m paper, I would appreciate your thoughts on the sections “Crime and Capitalist Development in the Riviera Maya: A Reconsideration” (p. 4) to the end of the “land theft” section (p 48)."


Brandon Hunter-Pazzara