[Home] [Current Tables of Contents]

[ HLAS Online Home Page | Search HLAS Online | Help | FAQ | Comments ]


Volume 61 / Social Sciences

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS: MEXICO


RODERIC A. CAMP, Professor of Government, Claremont-McKenna College


SINCE THE PUBLICATION OF HLAS 59, a plethora of research has appeared on Mexican politics, and some shifts in emphasis from previous years have taken place. Scholarship from Mexicans has increased in importance, specifically on elections and electoral politics, which naturally attracted the greatest attention among all scholars. An explanation for this trend is that the material covered here largely focuses on Mexico's dramatic democratic transformation, including the significant elections of 1997 and Vicente Fox's poignant electoral victory in the 2000 presidential race.

The most useful works for understanding the larger context of the democratic transformation are Daniel Levy and Kathleen Bruhn's comprehensive Mexico: The Struggle for Democratic Development (item #bi2003006594#), and César Casino Ortiz's comparatively focused La transición mexicana, 1977–2000 (item #bi2004000056#). As elections have taken on a crucial significance in Mexican politics, so have political parties, which are attracting serious scholarship after little attention had been paid to them in the past. Kevin Middlebrook provides a superb edited collection on the contributions of the Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) to pluralization (item #bi2003006598#); Michael Ard focuses his monograph on the party itself (item #bi2003006587#), complementing the earlier works of Kathleen Bruhn on PRD (see, for example, HLAS 59:3099); and Soledad Loaeza provides the most thorough analysis of PAN's history from its founding through 1994 (item #bi2001003165#). Marco Aurelio Sánchez has authored an equally valuable book on the PRD (item #bi2004000126#). Political parties, therefore, have benefitted most from new scholarship.

Regarding the electoral process itself, specifically the period through the 1997 elections, an excellent starting place is Jorge Domínguez and Alejandro Poire's edited collection (item #bi2003006594#) or Guadalupe Pacheco Méndez's outstanding work on the broader period of 1979–97 (item #bi2001003171#). Several case studies are equally well-researched and revealing, including Tania Hernández Vicencio's essay on Baja California (item #bi2004000109#), and a collection on the Chiapas highlands (item #bi2001003135#). A unique contribution to the literature is an analysis of ethnic voting, a topic which heretofore has been ignored in the literature (item #bi 00005723#).

One of the topics neglected in HLAS 59 and covered here is public security. An excellent, well-researched effort is John Bailey and Roy Godson's collection which includes perspectives from both sides of the border (item #bi2001001539#), as well as Arturo Alvarado and Sigrid Arzt's equally outstanding collection (item #bi2003006596#). Another work, which provides access to obscure data, focuses specifically on the police (item #bi2001003108#).

Political actors that continue to be ignored are the Catholic Church, the armed forces, and the business community. Parte de guerra, Tlatelolco 1968 provides new critical interpretations of the army's role in the student massacres (item #bi2001003096#), as does Sergio Aguayo in his valuable archival research (item #bi2001003191#). Alejandra Salas-Porras explores the role of businessmen in politics both directly and indirectly (item #bi 00006786#), and another original study examines their linkages to Fox (item #bi2001003148#). Finally, an original comparative analysis of the impact of Catholic pastoral letters is available (item #bi 00004977#). Women as political actors continue to attract serious scholarship, and this topic is advanced significantly in Victoria Rodríguez's major work, Women in Contemporary Mexican Politics (item #bi2003001676#). NGOs and civic actors have become a more important element of recent scholarship, but few strong studies have emerged. One exception is El Barzón, clase media, ciudadanía y democracia, a careful analysis of an influential middle class institution (item #bi2004000081#). Another is an excellent essay on the linkage between public demonstrators and the PRD in the Distrito Federal (item #bi2002006857#).

Other political institutions and organizations, characteristic of a pluralistic political model, continue to receive increased attention. For example, state political leadership is carefully examined during the Salinas administration in a detailed book-length work—the first of its kind (item #bi2001003162#), and another scholar provides a look at the politicians in the state of México (item #bi2001003120#). The most important democratic institution, Congress, continues to be understudied; however, Emilio Zebadúa's appraisal of its policy-making role from 1970–82 (item #bi2001003102#) and Alonso Lujambio's research on local legislative pluralism (item #bi2001003151#) are fresh contributions. Scholars have paid excessive attention to the presidency in the past, but Javier Hurtado's analysis of recent presidential behavior is noteworthy for its originality (item #bi2003000114#) along with Jorge Castañeda's interviews with the last four Mexican presidents, who provide invaluable insights into presidential decision-making and succession (item #bi2001003114#).

Perhaps the most original works from this period encompass the topic of popular culture and politics, best incorporated in an edited collection Fragments of a Golden Age (item #bi2004000052#), and in Eric Zolov's fascinating account of the rise of Mexico's counterculture (item #bi2001003127#). These works suggest a new trend combining historical-cultural research interfacing with political analysis.


Go to the:


Begin a Basic Search | Begin an Expert Search

[ HLAS Online Home Page | Search HLAS Online | Help | FAQ | Comments ]


Library of Congress
Comments: Ask a Librarian (12/06/11)