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Nova scientia

versão On-line ISSN 2007-0705


VAZQUEZ GONZALEZ, Lilia Betania et al. Subjectivation processes arising from the implementation of programmes of transition to organic honey production in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico. Nova scientia [online]. 2016, vol.8, n.17, pp.555-578. ISSN 2007-0705.


Mexican Agriculture Policies for the last thirty years have been directed towards meeting the demands of international markets without considering the specific characteristics of local and regional farming systems, thereby interfering in the way farmers organize their lives. This article analyzes the experiences of Yucatan peninsula Mayan communities that went from conventional to certified organic honey production to understand the specific impacts that Mexican National Policies have on peasant life, by focusing on the subjective aspects involved in the transition and transformations that take place in the community from the perspective of Mayan beekeepers.


We selected a cooperative in the Yucatan peninsula that received international financing to transform their apiculture processes but that ultimately did not continue with the production of organic honey. This is a case study showing the general situation in the region. The methodology used was qualitative and was based on grounded theory and discourse analysis of beekeepers and included semi-structured and in depth interviews.


This article reveals the changes in beekeepers subjectivity because of international programs. Constant training courses for beekeepers oriented towards organic production and environmental conservation try to convert the Maya peasant into a homo economicus. But, if neoliberal economic system is to succeed, programs must change the subjectivity of beekeepers; these changes affect motivations and attitudes from a traditional production to conventional intensification of the apiaries. Also, organic production follows international guidelines, not allowing technological innovation from communities. Originally, Mayan peasants used beekeeping as a sort of economic reserve, however nowadays beekeepers leaders consider the bees as a main source of income. The profile of the Mayan farmer-beekeeper corresponds to homo socio-economicus. In spite of the continuous interventions, conversion to homo economicus has been incomplete. The reason for this incomplete transformation is because Mayan people put a great value in their local organizations that have little room for individualism.


The results question that organic certification processes proposed by national and international policies are an appropriate strategy to improve the conservation of forest and the quality of life of Maya farmers since it limits innovation from beekeepers. In addition, Certification acts as a process of subordination to Western models of production; since they do not arise from the production models of the communities it is imposed from outside and demand a process of individualization of peasants that go against their traditions and do not strengthen their culture and economics as well as their social autonomy and politics.

Palavras-chave : Attitudes; motivations; beekeeping; homo socio-economicus.

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