Rural Democratization and Decentralization at the State/Society Interface: What Counts as ‘Local’ Government in the Mexican Countryside?
Rural local government inMexicois contestedterrain, sometimes representing the state to society, sometimes representing society to the state. In Mexico’s federal system, the municipality is widely considered to be the ‘most local’ level of government, but authoritarian centralization is often reproduced within municipalities, subordinating smaller, outlying villages politically, economically and socially. Grassroots civic movements throughout rural Mexico have mobilized for community self-governance, leading to a widespread, largely invisible and ongoing ‘regimetransition’ at the sub-municipal level. This study analyzes this unresolved process of political contestation in the largely rural, low-income states of Guerrero, Hidalgo, Oaxaca and Chiapas.