dedication and organization

opening words


the program

literature of the lecturers






press releases

1st World Congress on Matriarchal Studies
Luxembourg 2003
Selected Papers


Center for the Study of the Gift Economy

International Academy Hagia

Veronika Bennholdt-Thomsen

A Matriarchal Society in the age of Globalization
Juchitán/Southern Mexico

There are three reasons why I chose the subject of Globalization and Matriarchy.

Firstly, to emphasise the absolute topicality and modernity of the Juchitán society.

Secondly, to show that there are examples and points of contact for a current alternative to the existing globalised capitalism.

Thirdly, for the comprehension of this possibility, which in the case of Juchitán is especially easy because geographically the area is by no means a retreat but is like a turntable of globalised trade.

To begin with I will portray the main features of Juchitán society. Then I will discuss why it makes sense and is accurate to call this society matriarchal in spite of the existence of patriarchal elements within the society. This discussion leads directly on to the questions; what indeed is the mark of this intensified patriarchy of globalised capitalism; and what, in the light of the insights gained by Juchitán, can be the decisive moments for finding a different path.

Geographical details

The Middle-American Indian ethnic group of the Isthmus-Zapotecs settled in the South of Mexico on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, on the pacific side of the isthmus between the Atlantic Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific, in an area of approx. 7500 square kilometres. The population is about 250.000 persons strong, when applying the common criteria of speaking the native language. This group has a more or less matrifocal orientation. My report is from the town of Juchitán situated in this region with about 100 000 inhabitants. They portray the characteristics of this ethnic group very clearly. In this large rural town, which is really only a huge village, I ran a research project between 1990 and 1992 and during this time lived there continuously for a whole year.

The isthmus has been a transit area since before the Spanish invasion, and has served as a trading route between the north and the Central American south, between the Aztecs and the Mayans. This role of a trading post and traffic junction of international routes has continued through colonial times and the building of the railway in the nineteenth century to the present day. In the free trade port of Salina Cruz, where large refineries were built nearby, the crude oil is produced on the Atlantic side of the isthmus. In the course of the major development project "Plan Puebla-Panama" multi-tracked highways and railway tracks are planned, some already started, as well as the extension of container ports, the petrochemical industry and world market factories.

In view of this geo-political economic situation, the question is obvious, how much longer will this other, non-patriarchal economy and culture be able to persist. I will however not respond to this question as I think it is an ideological question along the lines of "There is no alternative" (Margaret Thatcher). In contrast I will describe the mechanisms which have reproduced matriarchal structures and kept them alive up to this day. When I use the plural "We" I refer to a team of five female sociology researchers who participated in this research project.

Juchitán, the town of women

The women of Juchitán, of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, are famous throughout the nation of Mexico because of their beauty and their economic power. Something of this power could be felt in the recent film about the world famous painter Frida Kahlo, who had her Mexican roots in this area. In this country whose character is stamped by "Machismo", the Latino male superiority, one often hears it said "Juchitán is run by women's rule." In Mexico a man is teasingly called a "Teco" (derived from Juchiteco) when he  displays supposedly un-masculine softness in the dispute between the sexes. "Teca" is the name for a woman who is proud and energetic and able to prevail. This reflects the ethnic character of women in Juchitán quite well.

The town of Juchitán is a regional trade centre. Moreover it is the residence of farmers and fishermen. Two large saltwater lagoons, rich in fish, are situated 5-10 km away from the town. The surrounding coastal plain is dedicated to tillage and animal husbandry. To visualise the character of this town, we can think of the European agricultural towns, made up mainly of town farmers who owned farms situated within the town's district which were still widespread up until the 1970's and are still in existence today.

Trade in Juchitán is exclusively in the hands of women. Each woman perceives herself as a trader, this skill is essentially given to her "in the cradle", by virtue of being a woman and a Teca. Even as a teacher or physician she will still trade in some goods, for example with gold jewellery or with medical equipment. This trade is both local and regional – Juchitán traders have outposts in the surrounding areas and with other ethnic groups – as well as doing long distant trade to Central America and to the southern states of the US. The main trading goods for long distance trade are local specialities, like dried shrimps, toasted tortillas called totopo, gold jewellery and richly embroidered garments. Agriculture and fishing are men's domains exclusively. A wife of a farmer does not see herself as a peasant woman, but as a trader of agricultural products, likewise, the companion of a fisherman. The men deliver their produce and catch to the women who process them to corn pies or cheese, to delicious chicken dishes or smoked fish, which they then sell on at the market. Or they act as brokers and sell the raw products to other women who in turn process them. Similarly trade in handcrafted products is women's domain.

There is quite a rigid division of labour in Juchitán along the line of the two basic sexes of women and men. Labour defines the sex to a great degree. One could almost get the impression that the rigidity in the sexual division of labour serves mainly the definition of further sexual identities and not so much that of man and woman. The mushes, mostly homosexual men who define themselves as women, do women's work and refuse to do men's work, thus defining their sexual identity through their work. It is similar with the marimachas, women who live with other women and take the male part in the relationship. The sexual practices themselves are rather secondary in view of the social sex assignment. The sexual partner of a mushe is not seen as a mushe, or as homosexual, but simply as a man. The same holds for the partner of a marimacha. If same sex partners do not assign themselves through their work as - biologically antidromic – a third or fourth sex, then sexual contact is rather sporadic and is not an issue in the wider society. What we call bi-sexuality has a very high occurrence in Juchitán.

The rather rigid sex based division of work is a protection for women from a sort of hostile take-over. In this way the position of trader and market-woman is undeniably women's domain.

Thus the economy of Juchitán is solidly in women's hands, which proves furthermore, and rather contrary to Marxist views, the importance of the circulation sphere for the whole of the economy. Both men and women are convinced that women are better at buying and selling and handling money. For this reason farmers and fishermen prefer to deliver their products to the women rather then to large trading organisations which would take the raw materials out of the region. Thanks to the special relationship between the sexes in Juchitán processing happens in the region and with this comes added product value. The man who works as a labourer in the nearby crude oil refinery delivers his complete income to the woman, for her to manage it. In this way a self-contained, women-centred economy of a very special quality has developed.

One of the more outstanding results is the great prosperity of the area, especially when we compare it to other Central American Indian regions, which are usually characterised by malnutrition and hunger. Children of pre-school age are especially vulnerable to malnutrition, impacting their entire further development. In Juchitán, children of this age group are better nourished then the average child in the US of similar age.

The Juchitán economy is women centred in as much as the core of the economy is based on provisioning. Different from our situation the societal division of labour between women is very high. One is selling salad dressings, the other one buys them to prepare the salads she is making. One makes clothes, the other one embroiders the clothes, a third one makes the designs for the embroidery. The tradeswoman who works at the market has somebody at home who cares for the children. The meals she brings home from the market are either partly or totally prepared. In comparison to Europe and the rest of Mexico, the societal division of labour in the area of provisioning has dramatically decreased in modern times. It brought about a reality, which is also an ideal, the one-woman enterprise household without any division of labour within its confines. In Juchitán however the isolated housewife does not exist. Instead the town's economy is organised in the form of a huge household with a high degree of labour division between its members. In this way the driving force behind this local and regional economy is the aspect of provisioning and not the abstract profit motive. This does not mean that there is an absence of wanting to make a profit gain, but it is another kind of gain, using another measurement. The measuring stick is and remains the concrete, beneficial and practical; good nourishment, clothing, dwelling, hospitality, and care and so on, instead of mere abstract profit figures. The relationship between the market partners remains a personal one. The aim is the good life and the life of the community instead of the fiction, "The more the better", or to become "Number One", at the expense of everybody else.

This is commensurate with the fact that there is little wage work in Juchitán. There seems to be an in-built brake in the society which prevents work from becoming a commodity. Work remains a way human beings actualise themselves in this world. It belongs to the person, is an aspect of the person, just like their sexuality. Each trades woman is proud of her competency; the trade itself is a craft, which cannot be just handed over to a waged worker. This is the reason why independence plays a greater role than the ambition to establish an enterprise with waged workers. Accordingly the whole local society is organised less hierarchically and is more egalitarian.

The economy remains embedded in the societal and cultural context in the form of the so-called prestige economy. The person with the highest esteem is not the one who owns most, but the one who gives most. By gift giving and the collective consummation of accumulated wealth, prestige is gained. In Juchitán one earns one's merits in the community through the festivals. Heading up the ranking of the merit festivals are the Velas, great street festivals, 35 per year, which last four days and are attended by several thousand people. To take the auspices of such a festival is the lifetime ambition of each Teca. These festivals are mainly the women's domain where they gain great prestige for themselves and their families. It is easy to detect fertility rites as the roots of the Velas which are celebrated by groups of interrelated people who live in the same areas. These mainly come from matrilineal clans who assemble around a Clan-Totem or a Nahual. Part of each Vela is a parade with floats with allegorical themes from which young women give out flowers, fruit and other gifts.

All together there are 628 great street festivals celebrated in Juchitán: Birthdays, weddings and the initiation festivals of the young girls for their 15th birthday or sometimes the initiation of a mushe. For young men there is no equivalent.

It is usually one person, generally a woman, who carries the main responsibility and the biggest part of the costs, but each festival has multiple godmothers, who carry a part of the responsibility for organising and financing the festival. The guests also contribute to the whole by way of offerings and gifts, above all the neighbouring women who are actively involved from 4 am onwards in preparing food for the hundreds of guests. The host has to keep all of these contributions in mind, as strict reciprocity is expected of her. In this way the festivals are not only an integral part of the economy, as they keep the circulation process going, but they also foster the spirit of reciprocity, which characterises the exchange process. Goods, gifts, donations and assistance, everything flows equally into the "reciprocity account" of the Tecas and Tecos, and this also applies for the prices of products at the market. The same product can cost different amounts for different customers, according to the status of the social reciprocity. In other words, people in Juchitán deal with money differently then is common in the capitalist market economy. Even though the market, monetary exchange processes and the societal division of labour organise the economy at the Isthmus, even though the same Peso and the same Dollar are used as elsewhere in Mexico and the world market, nevertheless purchase and sale, as well as the value of money, remain defined by independent social and cultural criterion and not vice versa.

The matriarchal spirit

This different spirit of "housekeeping", of managing the economy, and living together can be explained using the still existing matriarchal principles.

1. Pride in one's own is the first point, carrying the local and regional economy, which is based in the genealogy in which the individual feels anchored. The Isthmus-Zapotecs, and especially the Juchitánians, are proud of their ancestry, differing in this from most other colonised peoples of Mexico who feel ashamed of their background. Maternal genealogy still matters in Juchitán. The reputation of the children is determined by the reputation of mother or grandmother. They acquired the reputation in the context of the prestige economy. For example, politics is men's domain in Juchitán, and it is part of a male career path to aspire to a post in this context, preferably to become the mayor. Whether a man can succeed in politics is very much dependent on the reputation of his maternal family, as well as the commitment of his sisters and his wife in the social merit structure.

We can not strictly speak of matrilineality, using an ethnological term, but one can still see traces of it. For example, officially naming children is still done in the manner that is common in Mexico, first naming the father then the mother, i.e. Maria Lopez Sanchez. But many fathers are not even mentioned because they do not have a real or even formal function. Furthermore people know each other by their "house name" which usually is passed down from the mother. Also relationships are very unstable and because of this, as in typically matrilineal societies, fathers play a minor role. Nevertheless, perhaps as a concession to the overall Mexican society, many mothers strive towards the recognition of the father's paternity towards the child and for the youngster to carry the father's name.

2. Another matriarchal principle is the local relatedness, the connectedness with a specific locality, as it were a rootedness in mother earth, in comparison to the abstractness and randomness of the global market which aims for the up-rootedness of all and everything. Of highest importance for the local relatedness of the Juchitánians is the fact that commonly the women own the houses. There is no father-house, only the house of the mother. To this the sons can always return if there are problems in the relationship with the female companion with whom he is living. But it is invariably her house. The mother hands down her house and her gold jewellery to the youngest daughter, because she will care for her in her old age. She also makes sure that the new houses of her other daughters are built close to her on her property.

Arable farm-land, the boat and male tools are handed down along the male line. The heir can be a biological son or the son of a sister.  Common property of farm-land predominates which ensures access to land by each male member of the community (given that he has not inherited a specific plot of land already), so it is not the heredity transmission alone which is responsible for possession or non-possession of land. However, with the introduction of irrigation systems in the 1960s, the commons were to be changed into government owned land and eventually into private land. There was a relatively successful uprising against this attempt to hinder access to land for every male member of the community in need of it.

3. It is mainly the tradition of the mother's house, matrilocality, which is able to withstand the neo-liberal intention to gear the agricultural production of Juchitán towards the world market. The fact that farmers and fishermen, crafts men and labourers are handing their returns and their earnings over to the women, instead of using them up or selling on to outsiders, is based in the reality of matrilocality.  As the houses belong to the women and as the rituals of social coherence and the genealogy are focused on women, we can say that the town belongs to the women. Men get access to the society of the town by handing over their products and their earnings to the women.

This other spirit, which reigns in Juchitán and makes sure reciprocity prevails, enables the economy and money to remain embedded in social relationships.  This other spirit we attribute to the matriarchal principle that concentrates on the concrete, the material, the substantially useful, this concrete life on earth, not some other transcendent world. This thinking we call an orientation towards subsistence. The issue here is the "good life", now, here and today, it is the spirit residing in every object, not the spirit which is enthroned, aloof and exalted above everything that is an ordinary necessity – beyond manual labour and dirty nappies.

The rituals of the merit festivals connect everything. They are related to specific localities and social groups.  The same relatedness (or connectedness) applies to what holds value for everybody, the concretely useful, the real meal, the true pleasures. For each festive ceremony, for example the Festival of the Dead at Palm Sunday, the harvest festival, the many saints festivals, there are special meals, which are, mind you, not prepared by the housewife, but by the specialist market women who are offering this speciality for sale. Furthermore everybody knows that the totopos from Xandani are keeping especially well this year, that the best beans always come from San Miguel and that Mushe Sidral's embroidery designs are always the most imaginative. To deny this concreteness and to create an abstraction from it, focusing purely on the question of how much something costs, would cross nobody's mind. Everyday life objects are not emptied of their meaning, are not seen merely in financial terms. Even objects have a kind of genealogy, one knows where they came from, who made and processed them. And exactly this is their value.

The spirit of objects is cared for, in classic matriarchal form, at home with the help of a home- or family altar. From here everything is blessed, the ancestors are given food sacrifices, here healing ceremonies are carried out. This "worldly" spirituality is also carried out at each field ditch with little gifts, and every proper Juchitánian pours the first draught of beer on the ground. Juchitán does not hold to a spiritual view of transcendence. During a quarrel with neighbours from Tehuantepec the statue of St. Vincent was abducted, so a new statue had to be carved as otherwise the next vela in honour of the saint, who is also the patron saint of the city, could not have been celebrated properly. After years of reconciliation the old St. Vincent statue was returned and now two Velas have to be celebrated.

Matriarchal Principles in present times – or another world is possible

On various occasions sociologists who, by all accounts, are positively inclined towards matriarchal studies, have posed the following objections. There are too many patriarchal elements in Juchitán's society to warrant the term matriarchy. There is violence of men towards women, and I add, also from women towards men. The treatment of animals, especially dogs and the small domestic animals brought to the markets as well as hunting prey is anything but caring. The environment is violated, especially the river which is polluted with refuse.

All these statements are correct, but nonetheless the objection is incorrect. It lacks the sensitivity for the historical processes, which includes the contextualization of according epochs. What do I mean by this? I stand against a kind of historical idealisation of matriarchies, which perceives such societies only in the distant past. On the one hand, this is because I do not believe in the idealised picture, not even for the Neolithic. This does not mean that I am against the methodologies of formulating and ideal typing of matriarchy. It is the character of the ideal type to assemble generalised, abstract and ideal elements of a matriarchy, but no such society exists in reality. Therefore it is necessary when speaking about matriarchies to use the plural. If the empirical historical research does not show the multiplicity of matriarchal societies and instead reconstructs the one and only true matriarchy, the only conclusion remaining is that matriarchy consequently and irretrievably has been destroyed by patriarchy.

Additionally I would like to comment, the epistemological character of diversity and relativity, instead of just one truth and objectivity, is in my view the basis of a non-patriarchal "matriarchal" epistemology – wonderfully expressed in the motto "Diverse Women for Diversity". It reveals clearly that biological diversity is sustained by women in their cultural diversity and colourfulness, not by science, international conventions, the World Bank or large pharmaceutical companies.

On the other hand I take exception to the idealisation of what one could call a proper matriarchal society, a kind of a check-list à la "matriarchal political correctness", because I sense that we are in danger of overlooking many possibilities within societies- including our own – to choose another path, different to the globalised patriarchal destruction.

What does this specific patriarchal structural mechanism of globalised capitalism consist of, which destroys living contexts? And ergo, what makes up the deciding moment of a matriarchal pacification? Capitalism is patriarchal by eliminating the caring from the economy. According to its protagonists, only the sphere in which sales are made and profit is accumulated, under allegedly generalised competitive conditions, can be called economy. The only aim of this economy is to gain the highest return on investment; the means by which this is gained is irrelevant. Justified, even morally, is the one who carries off the victory in this competition, simply because he is "Number One". This unscrupulous war-like economy is socially acceptable only because the other values, such as caring, attending to, consideration and reciprocity are considered to be taken care of elsewhere, - at home by the women, the mothers, in the family, where love instead of competition is manifest. This is why what is done in this sphere is not considered (economically viable) as economy. Caring and actions directly serving life are split off, while the despising of women and children, well, human kind, is the character of this globalised capitalist economy.

As in every other patriarchal society the symbolic order of capitalist patriarchy aims to make fertility and productivity appear phallic. The feminine-maternal is denied the potency to create prolifically. Specifically capitalist in this manner is the final ideological de-materialisation of natural processes. Matter only counts as dead matter, and a product is solely that which is produced artificially with machines and the help of financial capital, culminating in the creation of genetically modified cells. The oikonomia (Greek: administration or rule of the house) has turned out to be an exclusive male endeavour. There is a very essential tendency, to deny economic effectiveness to any and all feminine activities and furthermore all natural, life creating and sustaining processes are being de-economised.

Specific to the process of globalisation – the highest stage of capitalism so far – is the "missionary zeal" with which UN-like bodies, internationally organised, bring this patriarchal-sexist understanding of economy to every last corner of the globe. What is new, at this globalised stage, is the war-like capitalist commercialisation of the still remaining, until now, split-off subsistence spheres. With the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services, an agreement of the World Trade Organisation) negotiations, the aim is to privatise all social services and hand them over to profit greedy international corporations. This includes childcare, education as well as cleaning and health care, water supply and waste disposal. Likewise the knowledge of gardeners and farmers passed on from generation to generation about seed saving and medicinal herbs is being patented and commercialised by monopolies.  This is happening all over the world and under the same conditions. Everything is being turned into a private service and, by means of cheapest labour, into profit. This is patterned after flexible women's wage labour, as it has been practised for a long time in the world market factories. This work can only be so cheap and flexible because it is seen as work of the mothers, as well partly as that of the community, and is split off as non-economic. However, much community work will continue to be the unpaid care-work of women; those kinds of tasks which can't be turned into waged labour and profit generation. Doubtlessly the effect will be a further neglect of provisioning and a further erosion of the care economy.

Because, naturally the split off part of the female side of the (non) economy is also affected. What is achieved here has no value in patriarchal culture and society, not only does it lack economic value, but it also lacks any appreciation. How many mothers and housewives are disrespected for the fact that they are doing the care work? How many daughters say for this reason: "I never want to be like my mother," Which, under the given conditions, is partly understandable. Paradoxically these women who sacrifice themselves by doing work without demanding consideration are keeping the system of patriarchal capitalist economy going by their self-denying actions. It is tragic when their own daughters despise them, as this damages both generations. For the daughters contribution to the destruction of a female genealogy and their lack of pride in their maternal ancestry only falls back on themselves.

The other path, away from globalised patriarchy, is the path healing the split in the economy. On the side of the care economy one has to be mindful to receive something in way of reciprocity. When I imagine this, what comes to mind is neither the picture of a gentle, maternal housewife nor the wage demanding housewife, but the proud Juchitán market woman and clan mother who claims and takes her independent space and sees herself as part of a collective housewife. To formulate this as a general principle I would say: for a peaceful, humane and gender just economy and society we need both a re-economising of the care aspect for the daily necessities and a re-socialising of the "Rambo" competitive economy. The aim has to be to make caring economic and the economy caring.


The process of ongoing patriarchalization, which declares the living for dead and the dead for the living, is still under way. Which also means conversely that contemporary societies, ours included, contain within them matriarchal energies. The biggest problem of our times is the warlike economicism. To counter this it is important to recognise each life script, which aims for the reproduction of the "Good Life", carries the seed of this other, more peaceful, co-operative path. In every place and at every moment it is imperative to activate the matriarchal spirit against patriarchal globalised destruction of the environment, the welfare state and a reciprocal economy.

And this spirit lives in the small things of everyday life, in the here and now. It lives much more in the little corner-shop than in the Wal-Mart superstore, rather in the small scale mixed farm than in factory farms, sooner with research into complimentary medicine than the pharmaceutical industry, also in locations where independent bartering relationships are established and regional markets revitalised. The matriarchal spirit is being revived in every place where the symbolic order of patriarchy is being questioned, such as at this conference.

To create once again from these many elements an inter-woven matriarchal societal whole, which reproduces itself out of its own energies as in Juchitán, is the challenge of the civil society, in short, for all of us.

(translation by Jutta Ried)


Bennholdt-Thomsen, Veronika, ed., Juchitán Stadt der Frauen. Vom Leben imMatriarchat, Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1994, 2nd edition.1997

Bennholdt-Thomsen, Veronika, "Musches, das dritte Geschlecht", in:B-Th, ed., 1994, p. 192- 213

Bennholdt-Thomsen, Veronika/ Müser, Mechtild/ Suhan, Cornelia, FrauenWirtschaft, Juchitán – Mexikos Stadt der Frauen, München: Frederking & Thaler, 2000

Giebeler, Cornelia, "Politik ist Männersache – Die COCEI und die Frauen", in V. Bennholdt-Thomsen, Hg., 1994, p. 89-108

Holzer, Brigitte, "Ökonomie der Feste, Feste als Ökonomie", in: Bennholdt-Thomsen, V., Hg. 1994, p. 48 – 64

Holzer, Brigitte, Subsistenzorientierung als "widerständige Anpassung" an dieModerne in Juchitán, Oaxaca, México, Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang, 1996

Mies, Maria, "Gegen die Ramboisierung der Männer"; Short lecture at a men's meeting of the Green Party. 28.5.94; "Zwischen Rambo und Märchenprinz", in: Dokumentation Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen NRW, Düsseldorf 1995

Müller, Christa, "Frauenliebe in einer frauenzentrierten Gesellschaft", in: V. Bennholdt-Thomsen, ed., 1994, p. 214 – 228

Bennholdt-Thomsen, Veronika/ Faraclas, Nicholas/ Werlhof, Claudia von, eds., There is an Alternative. Subsistence and Worldwide Resistence to CorporateGlobalization, Zed Books, London und Spinifex Press, Victoria 2001

Veronika Bennholdt-Thomsen, Cornelia Giebeler, Brigitte Holzer, Marina Meneses, Christa Müller and the social photographer Cornelia Suhan; see: V.B-Th., ed. Juchitán Stadt der Frauen. Vom Leben im Matriarchat, Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1994, 2nd. edition.1997

To give you a better understanding I am presenting the following key data, which relate to research conducted in 1990.  73 % of the population speak the local Zapotec language.  In comparison in the rest of Mexico only 9% of the population speaks a native language and of these native speakers 71% also speak Spanish. In Juchitán 85% also speak Spanish. There are 30 primary schools in the town, 6 secondary schools, 4 schools for further education (comparable to grammar schools), one regular and one technical college.  The level of schooling is quite equal for boys and girls, and this also applies to university education where about the same number of men and women complete the degree courses. 40-50% of the male labour force of Juchitán is employed in agriculture and fisheries often in combination with other work.  About the same number of women are traders, with a variation in the degree of importance the trade has as a source of income. The buildings of the market are situated in the centre of town and market stalls cover the adjoining streets. 14% of all women of working age ofJuchitán, about 1700 women, trade directly from the market every day and find their income and livelihood there. They offer their goods in different "waves" or timeslots from morning to evening. Crafts take up an important role in Juchitán, starting with the production and trade of food, to the embroidery shops of the women, to the carpentry workshops, goldsmith workshops and hammock weaving looms where the men work.  I estimate one quarter of the working population is employed in the production and the trade of these crafts. The formal sector of waged labour, other than the work in schools, banks,  the administration and a small amount of factory work, is very low because in Juchitán the principle of working for oneself' predominates.  Last but not least I would like to mention Juchitán has had electricity since 1919 and public sanitation was introduced in the early ‘60ies.

Occasions for these Vela-Festivals in the contemporary society are often catholic saints' days, i.e. San Isidro as the patron saint of farmers, or the three crosses, protective symbol for fishermen, or San Vicente, after whom the main church of the city was named. But likewise there exists the Vela del Lagarto, with a live crocodile as an emblem above the entrance gate, or the Vela of a town district, or several Velas of large widely ramified family kinship groups.

Brigitte Holzer, "Ökonomie der Feste, Feste als Ökonomie", in: Bennholdt-Thomsen, V., ed. 1994,

p. 48 - 64

The affiliation is also dependent on the location, which is defined through the mother's line. Of two mayor candidates one was able to gain an advantage over the other because his mother was Juchiteca and his placenta was buried in Juchitán, even though his father was Lebanese. The parents of the other candidate were both Juchitecan Zapotecs, but he was not born in Juchitán itself. . (Cornelia Giebeler, "Politik ist Männersache – Die COCEI und die Frauen", in V. Bennholdt-Thomsen, ed.., 1994, p. 89-108

See: www.diversewomen.org

The expression ramboization was coined by Maria Mies during a lecture with the title : "Turning all men into Rambos." given at a men's congress of the Green Party on 28.05.1994 with the title "Between Rambo and Prince Charming", Documentation available Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen NRW, Düsseldorf 1995