The Zapatista Insurgency: Bringing the Political Back into Conflict Analysis

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This article will argue that the political dimensions to Zapatista insurgency offer a significant challenge to the prevailing understanding of conflict. Whilst the Liberal account of war is underwritten by notions of (1) cultural barbarism; and (2) socio-economic regression, their commitment to autonomy exposes the political bias of this reading. Indeed, by drawing our attention toward the relationships between Liberal power and indigenous autonomy, their insurgency forces us to reconsider why the attempts to conquer the self-reliant terrain of indigenous life itself have become an integral feature of the war effort. This broadened focus is crucial. Since the minor political necessarily appears upon this terrain to be that which is dangerous, and yet that which resists the strategic political will of Liberal rationality, it will be concluded that one of the Zapatistas' most significant contributions is to demand a return of the homo politicus into conflict analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-520
JournalNew Political Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2008


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