Social Cohesion and Environmental Governance Among the Comcaac of Northern Mexico

  • N. Martínez-TagüeñaEmail author
  • R. F. Rentería-Valencia
Part of the Springer Climate book series (SPCL)


The Comcaac have inhabited the central coast of the Sonoran Desert in Northern Mexico since time immemorial. Acknowledging the value of their continuous presence and the adaptations it has generated, scholars have documented for decades the intricacies of their environmental knowledge—a complex corpus of socio-ecological relations in constant refinement and transformation. Yet, a crucial point missing within these efforts is the recognition of the ways in which the colonial encounter and the eventual incorporation of this indigenous people into a market economy in the twentieth century drastically re-organized the ways knowledge and power flux locally—an acknowledgement that consequently challenges scholarly understandings of traditional knowledge as extemporal. As old system of reciprocity and collective accountability transformed under new forms of social organization, the individualistic inclinations that characterize the Comcaac society were drastically exacerbated by capitalist logics, producing in turn new forms of power and governance that stand at odds with previous social logics and balances. The present chapter sheds light into the existing tensions that define Comcaac livelihoods in order to better understand the social creation and transformation of environmental knowledge while reflecting upon the vulnerability and resilience that characterizes the different governance systems of the Global South dryland regions.


Social cohesion Governance Capitalism Indigenous peoples Sonoran Desert 



The authors acknowledge the many members of the Comcaac Indigenous Community that have supported and collaborated with them. They also thank their respective affiliations for their support. NMT thanks her Cátedra CONACYT ID Number 6133 as part of the project 615. And RRV appreciates the support provided by the Anthropology and Museum Studies at Central Washington University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Martínez-Tagüeña
    • 1
    Email author
  • R. F. Rentería-Valencia
    • 2
  1. 1.Cátedra CONACYT, Consortium for ResearchInnovation and Development of Drylands, Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y TecnológicaSan Luis PotosiMexico
  2. 2.Anthropology and Museum Studies in Central Washington UniversityEllensburgUSA

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