This article investigates the unintended consequences of community-based ecotourism in the Sierra de Juárez in Oaxaca, Mexico. The state sponsors the implementation of eco-tourism in indigenous communities to foster economic opportunities, “development,” and sociocultural inclusion. Several villages adopt this programme, displaying the rich biodiversity of their localities, revitalising their ecological knowledge and sharing cultural traditions with tourists. In this process, tourists gain a new appreciation for Indigenous communities when they discover that local environmental expertise is framed using global discourse of environmental protection and awareness. This new esteem enacts novel subject formations and empowers some indigenous actors, but simultaneously, this generates new forms of governance and vigilante practices among community members. Those who do not comply with environmental policies, in particular women, are viewed with suspicion for being out of step with community values. The article concludes that power and hegemony are at work under the name of “good” environmental management.
[Mexico, ecotourism, decolonization, subjectivation, governance, vigilance, waste, gender]