Giovannini, M. (2016), Alternatives to Development: The Contribution of Indigenous Community Enterprises in Chiapas, Journal of International Development, 28(7), 1138–1154


The interest in the potential role of community enterprises in sustaining self-managed development strategies stems from the analysis of the scarce results provided by top-down development interventions in indigenous settings. This paper reports on an ethnographic study carried out in the Mexican state of Chiapas, where 16 community enterprises managed by local indigenous communities have been analysed. The focus of the analysis was to identify the main needs of local indigenous communities and the contribution that community enterprises could give to addressing these needs. The main findings pinpoint some enabling factors for the emergence of community enterprises and some specific characteristics that explain the contribution of community enterprises in supporting alternative approaches to development, where local communities are actors of their own development processes.

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