El otro lado

Local Ends and Development in a Q'eqchi' Maya Community

in Social Analysis
Avery DickinsVanderbilt University avery.dickins-degiron@vanderbilt.edu

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In the small Q'eqchi' Maya village of Muqb'ilha', locals refer to the newly developed tourism complex as el otro lado (the other side), in contrast to the 'lived side' where the community resides. While the Candelaria River literally divides the homes of the community's families from the visitor center, the reference goes beyond a physical distinction. The tourism center provides a window to the world beyond this remote community as residents who participate in the enterprise gain economic, social, and human capital through their interaction with outsiders. The Chisec region of Guatemala where Muqb'ilha' is located has recently experienced a boom in NGO activity. This article explores the interaction between indigenous communities and international NGOs, highlighting ways in which local actors use development projects and conservation measures toward their own ends.

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Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology