Wilson J, 2011, "Notes on the Rural City: Henri Lefebvre and the transformation of everyday life in Chiapas, Mexico" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 29(6) 993 – 1009
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Notes on the Rural City: Henri Lefebvre and the transformation of everyday life in Chiapas, Mexico
Received 3 September 2010; in revised form 3 February 2011
Abstract. In the work of Henri Lefebvre the new town is frequently referred to as a ‘social text’ in which the nature of capitalist modernity can be deciphered with unusual clarity. This paper locates Lefebvre’s seminal “Notes on the new town'' within his broader political and philosophical project and employs it as the theoretical basis for a critique of the Rural Cities, a series of new towns currently being constructed in Chiapas, Mexico, in which the region’s peasant population is being relocated. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in Chiapas, I argue that the Rural Cities constitute a strategy for the imposition of capitalist social relations and the administration of everyday life by the state based on a technocratic rationality that erases the cultural practices of the region’s indigenous and peasant population. I then discuss the numerous contradictions that are emerging through the implementation of the Rural Cities and conclude by contrasting them to the Zapatista caracoles. The caracoles, I suggest, constitute an alternative transformation of everyday life in Chiapas, which resonates with Lefebvre’s vision of a “revolutionary romanticism”.
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