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Excluding to include: (Non)participation in Mexican natural resource management

Abstract

Participatory processes are often intended to encourage inclusion of multiple perspectives in defining management means and goals. However, ideas about the legitimacy of certain uses and users of the resources can often lead to exclusion from participation. In this way, participation can be transformed from a process of inclusion of various resource users to one of exclusion. Using a case study from a marine protected area in Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico, and drawing on work in deliberative democracy, I present a typology of how individuals and groups can be excluded from participation. External exclusion includes non-invitation and other means for keeping participation from occurring. Internal exclusion refers to exclusionary events during participatory meetings. This analysis suggests that participation needs to be recognized as a valuable but easily manipulated tool in the design of projects like natural resource management.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Following local practice in Loreto, commercial fishing refers to small-scale, artisinal fishing, while industrial fishing involves large ships with larger crews and harvests.

  2. 2.

    This trust lasted for the duration of the management plan negotiations, though later dissolved under the strain of waiting for the final plan to be published (Peterson 2005). Yet some of the external exclusions were alleviated, as fishermen finally received invitations to planning meetings.

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Acknowledgments

I wish to thank the fishermen, park officials, and others in Loreto who are as much responsible for this research as I am, though not for its faults. In addition, I would like to acknowledge the support and comments of my fellow panelists at the American Anthropological Association Meetings in 2007, including Carla Roncoli, Renzo Taddei, Scott Lacy, and Kent Glenzer, as well as comments by two anonymous reviewers. Funding for field research in Mexico was generously provided by the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States (UC MEXUS) and the UC San Diego Anthropology Department. Additional support was provided by the Center for US-Mexican Studies (CUSMEX), the Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies at UC San Diego, and the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions at Columbia University.

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Correspondence to Nicole D. Peterson.

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Peterson, N.D. Excluding to include: (Non)participation in Mexican natural resource management. Agric Hum Values 28, 99–107 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-010-9258-x

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Keywords

  • Participation
  • Exclusion
  • Natural resource management
  • Marine protected areas
  • Mexico