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EntreDiversidades. Revista de ciencias sociales y humanidades

On-line version ISSN 2007-7610


WITOLD, Jacorzynski. An (im) possible woman from Chenalhó: a drama in four acts between two worlds. Entrediversidades rev. cienc. soc. humanid. [online]. 2020, vol.7, n.1, pp.155-188.  Epub June 30, 2021. ISSN 2007-7610.

This essay narrates the story of Rosa Pérez Pérez, the first president woman in the history of Chenalhó, one of the Tzotzil-Maya township in the Highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. First of all her story is depicted as a drama in four acts: her rising to power in democratic elections in July 2015, her destitution in May 2015 under the pressures of her political contenders, her return to power in August of 2016, and finally, the last period of her goverment between November 2017 and October 2018, until the takeover of the presidency by Abraham Cruz Gómez. Second of all, several theoretical concepts, suitable for an analysis of the case, are considered. Two different theoretical and methodological perspectives are distinguished: The THEYWorld and the IWorld. While the former is defined in terms of the impersonal rules which govern social practices, the later express the individual perspectives internalized in the individuals involved in the of everyday life. Two testimonies are presented: one of Moisés Pérez the former judge in the government of Rosa Pérez Pérez, and the other of Samuel Pérez, the cousin of Moises. While the former defends Rosa’s right to be on charge as a legitimate president of Chenalhó, the later denies it. It is concluded, that the conflict in Chenalho’ can be explained by recurring to the three explicative models: the gender-based model, the economical/ political model and the personalist model. According to the first and the second one, the story of Rosa Pérez Pérez makes visible a clash between the traditional patriarchal social order and its modern counterpart, based officially on gender equality-principle. Finally, it is argued that the third model, a personalist one, is better equipped to explain social clashes in Chenalhó: it assumes that the social change is a result of the interplay between the TheyWorld of impersonal rules of the games and the IWorld of personal interventions into those rules. It is the interplay between two worlds that opens the possibility of social change.

Keywords : Chenalhó; political conflict; ideas; beliefs; social order; social structure; perspectives; feminism.

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