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Natural resources knowledge socialization in Yucatan, Mexico: promoting a mutually beneficial society-nature relationship

María Teresa Castillo-Burguete, Laboratorio de Investigación y Participación Comunitarias, Departamento de Ecología Humana, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional (Cinvestav)
Mallely Martínez-Mateos, Federación Mexicana de Esperanto, A.C.
María Dolores Viga-de Alva, Laboratorio de Investigación y Participación Comunitarias, Departamento de Ecología Humana, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional (Cinvestav)

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-11016-240321

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Abstract

Members of the San Crisanto Ejido in Yucatan, Mexico, have developed a kind of harmonious society-nature relationship. Socialization at the family level is instrumental to fomenting this relationship. We developed a conceptual framework from a human ecology perspective to describe and analyze the natural resources knowledge acquisition process and thus better understand the complexities behind this relationship. Research was conducted with 35 ejido members, who collectively own and manage 1420 ha of natural areas. In-depth interviews were done with the families of four members, i.e., four ejido founders, four wives, and four sons who were also ejidatarios (12 participants in total). A genealogy, participant observation, and content analysis were applied to identify backgrounds and trends in their collective answers. When participants were children, they learned about natural resources within a psycho-sociocultural context. This context allowed them to internalize traits of Maya culture through family knowledge, collective beliefs, and practices related to natural resources management, creating their own governance model. They consequently developed capabilities that enabled them to participate and function in a broader social environment and in decision making about natural resources. Participants incorporated cultural capital, which allowed them to continue acquiring knowledge and capabilities from nature and their productive activities, and to pursue the kind of life they desired using the natural resources in their surroundings. Knowledge of their natural heritage also helped them to continue caring for the ecosystem they depend on, maintaining and improving the conditions of the surrounding environment, their well-being and enjoying their nature-society relationship while having the kind of life they desire.

Key words

capabilities; cultural capital; governance; natural environment; natural resources perception, use, and conservation; psycho-sociocultural environment; socialization process; society-nature relationship

Copyright © 2019 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087