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Región y sociedad

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Abstract

BANISTER, Jeffrey M.. Diluvios de grandeza: agua, territorio y poder en el río Mayo en el noroeste de México, 1880-1910. Región y sociedad [online]. 2012, vol.24, pp. 11-51. ISSN 1870-3925.

Northwest Mexico's irrigation area, part of which is known today as Irrigation District 038, or El Valle del Mayo, arises from historical struggles to build an official order within a diverse realm of signs, symbols, processes, places, and peoples. It is the ancestral home of the Yoreme (Mayo), an indigenous group for whom colonization and agricultural development have meant the loss of autonomy and of the seasonal mobility required to subsist in an arid land. It is also the birthplace of President Álvaro Obregón, a one-time chickpea farmer who transformed late-19th century irrigation praxis into the laws and institutions of 20th century water management. Reshaping the area in order to centralize ('federalize') water resources has always proved exceedingly difficult in the Mayo. This was particularly so in the beginning of the federalization process, a time of aggressive modernization under the direction of President Porfirio Díaz (1876-1910). Research on Mexican water politics and policy, with some important exceptions, has tended to focus on the scale and scope of centralization. Scholars have paid less attention to the moments and places where water escapes authorities' otherwise ironclad grasp. This article explores water management (and state formation more broadly) in the late 19th century, on the eve of Mexico's 1910 Revolution, as an ongoing, ever-inchoate series of territorial claims and projects. Understanding the weaknesses and incompleteness of such projects offers critical insight into postrevolutionary and/or contemporary water policy.

Keywords : water management; territoriality; political geography; state formation; Porfiriato; space; power; Mexico.

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