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Volume 53 / Social Sciences


RODERIC A. CAMP, Professor of Political Science, Tulane University

MANY OF THE SCHOLARLY TRENDS identified in HLAS 51 continue. Overall, the most notable pattern is the increasing emphasis on electoral analysis. Again, with some notable exceptions, most of the work in this area is being carried out by Mexican social scientists. To a lesser extent, Mexican scholars continue to demonstrate an interest in labor unions and State-labor relations, as well as in studies of state and local politics. One additional facet firmly in place in Mexican political analysis is the use of survey research, specifically public opinion polls. This data, which has so far only been used in Mexican election studies, is likely to contribute to a flowering of other subject matter over the next decade. However, the same lacunae noted in previous volumes of the Handbook, specifically analyses of the military, the Church, and women in politics, continue.

One of the major topics which has crept into the literature since 1988 is the issue of political liberalization. Much of this literature is policy oriented, rather than based on original, in-depth research. Nevertheless, it provides many stimulating ideas about the inter-relationship between economic liberalization and democratization. All of these contributions are in the form of articles or essays; no one as yet has published a monograph. Among the most provocative and popular works in Mexico on the subject continue to be by Krauze, whose Por una democracia sin adjetivos (see HLAS 51:3442) presents many of his essays from Octavio Paz's magazine, Vuelta. Crespo's essay (item bi 89004547) focusing on the cultural sources of authoritarianism and participation in Mexico won a contest sponsored by Vuelta. A book which does deal with numerous aspects of this topic is the Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo's Reforma del sistema político mexicano (item bi 91019101). One in a series of important works on economic reform, it examines the potential role of law and the legal system on political liberalization, a role ignored in most other sources. Another series of excellent essays appears in México, el reclamo democrático (item bi 91019149), which also includes interviews and statements from opposition party leaders. An unusual contribution on a topic likely to receive greater emphasis in the future is Concha Malo's essay on human rights in the 1970s and 1980s which appears in a collection of essays edited by González Casanova and Cadena Roa (item bi 91019154).

One set of political institutions which is receiving greater attention is political parties. The PRI, long deserving a serious examination, finally receives one for the period 1928-45 in Garrido's work, destined to become the standard book on the subject (item bi 91019172). Other political parties or movements have also attracted scholarly interest. For the first time, a serious, book-length study of the National Liberation Movement is available. This work, by Maciel, provides important background to understanding recent political events in Mexico (item bi 91019191). The Mexican Democratic Party, a minor party on the far right, receives detailed attention for the first time in Alonso's edited volume of essays (item bi 91019139). Although not focusing on a specific party, Loaeza provides one of the few essays exploring the political right, specifically the emergence of a conservative political culture (item bi 90014272).

The best of the election literature, which continues to focus on the 1985 and 1988 elections, can be found in Mexico's alternative political futures (item bi 91019097) and Las elecciones de 1988 y la crisis del sistema político (item bi 91019122). Finally, Butler and Bustamante's edited book is a bi-national effort on the 1988 election which explores original data from the Univ. of California-Riverside database project, placing the 1988 election within the context of US-Mexican relations (item bi 92007069).

Within the larger framework of State-group relations, labor unions continue to receive the most attention. The CTM, Mexico's dominant labor federation, receives serious analytical attention in Aziz Nassif's new book which covers a wide range of State-labor topics (item bi 91019178). The private sector and the State, particularly the banking community, is fully analyzed in Hernández Rodríguez's book on the 1982 bank nationalization which examines the entire relationship under President López Portillo (item bi 91019171). Students of the Mexican military will benefit from Colson's excellent bibliographical work, the first up-to-date English language source on published and unpublished material (item bi 90010567), and from an essay by Piñeyro, a leading student of Mexican civil-military relations, assessing the influence of military modernization (item bi 90011375). One important contribution to Church-State studies, examined within the context of the Federal District, is Aguilar and Luengo's original essay published in D.F.: gobierno y sociedad civil (item bi 91019126).

Among the fresh topics receiving attention is the above-mentioned analysis of public opinion surveys. Basáñez, one of Mexico's leading pollsters, provides a source book of data from his own polls from 1940-87 in El pulso de los sexenios (item bi 91019153). Corruption, a topic which is widely discussed in Mexican politics but rarely empirically researched, is analyzed in Morris' helpful book (item bi 91025347). With the growing interest in ecological matters, a topic on which numerous contributions are likely to appear in future volumes, Stevis and Mumme's timely essay carefully explores nuclear power in Mexico (item bi 91023198). Although literature on public administration in Mexico abounds, a total neglect of the actual budgeting process on the local level prevails. In this regard, Martínez Assad and Ziccardi's imaginative essay testing the results of municipal spending on electoral results is an important first step (item bi 91007558).

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