Periurbanization, Agricultural Livelihoods and Ejidatarioś Social Capital: Lessons from a Periphery Municipality in Michoacán, Mexico.

Published in Procedia Engineering, v. 198:428-443.

Méndez-Lemus, Y., Vieyra, A., Poncela, L.

Publication year 2017

Centro de Investigaciones en Geografía Ambiental (CIGA), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México Antigua Carretera a Patzcuaro No. 8701 Col Exhacienda de San José de la Huerta, Morelia, Michoacán, C.P. 58190 México

IAI Program


IAI Project CRN3095


Poor farmers at the edge of cities are subjected to processes of significant territorial transformations, which alter access to geographical endowments thereby creating opportunities but mostly threats for their agricultural livelihoods. Literature remarks that social capital seems to contribute to the endurance of such livelihoods, although the underlying mechanisms through which this capital operates in such context remain under-researched. This paper uses the example of fifteen ejidos located in a peripheral municipality notably affected by the expansion of Morelia, a middle size city in Michoacán, Mexico, to explore such mechanisms. Two main considerations were taken into account to fulfill this purpose. First, we assumed that social capital is the result of a social construction process, so it is the product of formal and informal institutionalized social relationships that promote feed-back loops of social engagement, trust and reciprocity that help to mobilize meaningful resources for mutual benefit. Second, we focused on the ejido as the unit of analysis since it is considered as one of the most important forms of social organization in the rural Mexico. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with their respective Comisariados ejidaleś presidents. Results show how ejidatarios engage and reciprocate inside the ejido. Also, they reveal the nature of the exchanges and their outcomes. The findings highlight the importance of local institutional and non-institutional arrangements in regulating access to, and distribution of, resources in peri-urban territories.