Video abstract – Megan Ybarra talks about "You Cannot Measure a Tzuultaq'a": Cultural Politics at the Limits of Liberal Legibility

Here Megan Ybarra, Assistant Professor of Politics, Latin American Studies, and American Ethnic Studies at Willamette University, talks about her paper “You Cannot Measure a Tzuultaq’a”: Cultural Politics at the Limits of Liberal Legibility, which was published this week in Antipode 45(3).

Against a backdrop of two decades of Latin American emergence from the crises of debt and dictatorship towards an uncertain marriage of fragile democracies and neoliberal policies, Megan’s paper focuses on recognition for a limited set of rights for indigenous peoples as neoliberal multiculturalism. Through a case study of a sacred place declaration amongst Q’eqchi’ Maya activists in rural Guatemala, she explores the limits of ‘liberal legibility’. If an organized group in struggle engaged with the neoliberal state on its terms, their goals and actions would necessarily be circumscribed to its limited scope for recognition; in this case, however, multicultural neoliberalism did not encompass the full spectrum of Q’eqchi’ political activism. Megan argues that Q’eqchi’ cultural politics goes beyond neoliberal limits, using spirituality and territoriality to signal a broader politics of transfiguration…

Antipode Video Abstract: You Cannot Measure a Tzuultaq’a from Megan Ybarra on Vimeo.