Bargaining in the Shadow of Leisure: Labor, Strategy, and 21st Century Syndicalism in Late Neoliberal Mexico

Brandon Hunter-Pazzara, Anthropology

Wed, 04/14/2021 - 12:00pm
via Zoom
Event Category: 
By Invitation Only
Graduate Students

To RSVP, please email

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: "Labor unions in Mexico's tourism zones have grown considerably over the last 30 years, suggesting a contradiction in the typical narrative of neoliberal development and labor flexibilization. In this presentation, I explain how and why this growth has taken place by looking at two labor unions that represent workers in the town of Playa del Carmen. I argue that organized labor's capacity to expand its ranks is neither the result of Mexico's labor law regime, nor the history of political patronage typical of Mexico's industrial sector syndicalism. Instead, unions deploy distinct strategies that emerge from both the political-economy of the tourism and leisure sector, and the gender composition of each union. These strategies, I show, run counter to both current labor law and proposed labor reforms instigated by the recent ratification of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)." 


Brandon Hunter-Pazzara

Brandon Hunter-Pazzara is a PhD candidate in the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Princeton University. His dissertation project, "Solidarity in the Sand: Labor, Capitalist Development, and Contestation in Mexico's Maya Riviera," examines the complex growth of new forms of syndicalism in Mexico's quickly growing tourism sector.