elizabeth ferry



Why and how did miners in the Santa Fe silver mining cooperative in Guanajuato, Mexico who depend on a non-renewable, global commodity, conceive of their livelihood and the silver on which they depend, as inalienable property to be handed down to future generations?  My first book, Not Ours Alone: Patrimony, Value, and Collectivity in Contemporary Mexico (Columbia, 2005) explores how members and their families used “patrimony” as a conceptual frame to accommodate this paradox. Their efforts finally failed in 2005 when the cooperative was forced to sell its holdings to Great Pantnot ours aloneher Silver, a Canadian company. The book shows why the cooperative lasted as long as it did, while also capturing a transitional moment from post-revolutionary to neoliberal Mexico.