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Caciquismo in Twentieth-Century Mexico

Edited by Alan Knight and Wil Pansters
caciquismointwentiethcenturymexico

Caciquismo (roughly translated as “boss politics”) has played a major role in Mexican political and social life. Loosely knit interest groups, or “caciques,” of diverse character—syndicates, farmers, left- and right-wingers, white-collar workers—have exercised great power within Mexico’s distinctive political system. The peculiarities of Mexico’s system have greatly depended on this kind of informal politics, which combines repression, patronage, and charismatic leadership. As such, caciquismo fits uncomfortably within the formal analysis of laws, parties, and elections and has been relatively neglected by academics. Though its demise has often been predicted, it has survived, evolved, and adjusted to Mexico’s rapid post-revolutionary transformation. Incorporating the research of historians, political scientists, sociologists, and anthropologists, this book reevaluates the crucial role of the cacique in modern Mexico. It suggests that caciquismo has survived decades of change and upheaval and remains an important, if underestimated, feature of recent Mexican politics. Contributors include Christopher Boyer (University of Illinois at Chicago), Keith Brewster (University of Newcastle upon Tyne), Matthew Butler (Queen’s University, Belfast), Marco Calderón (El Colegio de Michoacán, Mexico), Maria Teresa Fernández Aceves (Centro de Investigaciones en Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social [CIESAS], Mexico), Rogelio Hernández Rodríuez (El Colegio de México), Stephen Lewis (California State University, Chico), Salvador Maldonado Aranda (El Colegio de Michoacán, Mexico), Jennie Purnell (Boston College), Jan Rus (Tzotzil Instituto de Asesoría Antropológica para la Región Maya, and Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of California, San Diego), Pieter de Vries (Wageningen University), and J. Eduardo Zárate H (El Colegio de México, Michoacán).

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