• Article

Core and periphery relations A case study of the Maya

How do indigenous peoples relate to the core over the longue duree? In this
paper, we explore the implications of colonialism from a world-systems
perspective, examining interactions in the economic and political structures in
addition to the effects of landlessness for indigenous peoples in one case: the
Maya. After reviewing world-systems theory and applying it to indigenousness,
we discuss Ragin’s (1992) conceptualization of cases and the comparative
historical method. Then we introduce the relational concept, a tool that allows us
to employ both the comparative historical method and world-systems theory in
our analysis of the Maya and their relationship to the state of Mexico. We then
present our data, which consist of the economic and political conditions, along
with the cultural implications of landholding across time among the Maya and in
Mexico. We analyze these data using the relational concept to understand the
consequences of colonialism and globalization for the Maya people.


Teixeira-Poit, S., & Iyall Smith, K. (2008). Core and periphery relations: A case study of the Maya. Journal of World-Systems Research, 14(1), 22-49.