International Journal of Historical Archaeology

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 225–252 | Cite as

Peonage, Power Relations, and the Built Environment at Hacienda Tabi, Yucatan, Mexico

  • Allan D. Meyers
  • David L. Carlson


The social and material conditions of postcolonial haciendas in Yucatan, Mexico, were greatly influenced by power relations intrinsic to the institution of debt peonage. Although landowning elites exercised enormous control over debt peons, hacienda social relations involved continuous negotiation between master and servant. Recent investigations at Hacienda Tabi, a sugar hacienda in southern Yucatan, explore the interplay between power relations and the creation and maintenance of the built environment. The evidence from Tabi suggests that during the Porfiriato (1876–1911) hacendados manipulated the settlement landscape to emphasize an order of social inequality. The spatial and structural elements of the hacienda's settlement reflected and supported the owners' attempts to control resident peons. However, those attempts were challenged by the resident Maya community, who defined the hacienda landscape imposed on them in alternative ways.

Yucatan haciendas peonage power relations 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allan D. Meyers
    • 1
  • David L. Carlson
    • 2
  1. 1.Comparative Cultures CollegiumEckerd CollegeSt. Petersburg
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege Station

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