Rebecca Maria Torres* - University of Texas at Austin
The proliferation of Planned Tourism Development (PTD) as an economic development strategy and the implementation of neoliberal agrarian reforms have created conditions ripe for mass rural-to-urban migration in the Yucatán Peninsula. This study draws on field research conducted in a Cancún shantytown and rural communities throughout the State of Quintana Roo to examine the processes and impacts of tourism-driven rural-to-urban migration on Maya agricultural households. The paper sheds light on the everyday experience of Cancún migrant milpero families as they seek to negotiate their position between urban tourist and rural agricultural spaces in the context of neoliberal restructuring. Drawing on Re Cruz's conception of Cancún as a metaphorical "other" milpa, I trace the cropping cycle over a year as a temporal frame from which to knit together the story of one family's attempt to work the two milpas for survival. Through a detailed examination of crop management, it is possible to understand the subtle everyday disruptions, disconnects and challenges Cancún milperos face as they circulate between their two milpas. In this manner we can untangle the multiple and nuanced ways in which tourism-driven migration and the state agrarian policy affect agriculture, and most importantly, rural families having one foot in both worlds.