Fried Chicken or Pop? Redefining Development and Ethnicity in Totonicapan

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Publication Date


Publication Title

Bulletin of Latin American Research


Sociology & Anthropology


This article draws on ethnographic research with a K’iche’ community development organisation in the rural department of Totonicapán to examine how neoliberal development policies in post-conflict Guatemala both enabled and problematised grassroots ethnic development strategies. Specifically, this study analyses efforts by the Cooperation for the Rural Development of the West (CDRO) to operationalise Maya culture as a tool for development through the pop (woven mat) methodology. This particular Maya development model was successful in its ability to appeal to both the international development industry and local community development goals. The article also examines, however, how the pop also became an important site of critique of neoliberal state reforms and class inequality within the community.