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Modernist visions and the invisible Indian : a history of Mexican governmental thought and Maya resistance.

Higgins, Nicholas P. (2000) Modernist visions and the invisible Indian : a history of Mexican governmental thought and Maya resistance. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94415) (KAR id:94415)


This thesis is concerned with the different ways in which the Maya Indians of Mexico have come to be both thought of and acted upon. It traces a political and governmental history from the time of discovery until the late 1990’s, uncovering a distinctively modem approach towards what can best be understood as an essentially contested Indian subjectivity. As a means of understanding the current Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas, the thesis looks back to previous moments of Indian resistance and seeks to uncover the nature of state/subject relations as they have been experienced by Mexico’s Maya population. On the basis of this analysis it becomes possible to talk of a Mexican ‘governmentality’ that has failed to ‘see’ the Indian in terms other than instrumental and calculative.

Approaching politics and culture from this particular historical perspective allows otherwise subjugated questions of identity and state formation to be explored. Traditional concerns in International Relations, such as national interest or national security, thus begin to look partial and insular as the highly contiguous nature of such projects with the practices of order and freedom are revealed. Mexico’s Indian population, as characterised by the Maya of Chiapas, thus demonstrate how modernity has multiple trajectories and how a narrow and ahistorical approach to current Indian conflict fails to recognise the non-reductive, non-scientific and characteristically human aspect of political resistance that the ongoing Zapatista rebellion embodies.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94415
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Zapatista rebellion
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CB History of civilization
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2023 10:36 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2023 10:36 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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