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Producing Modernity in Mexico: Labour, Race, and the State in Chiapas, 1876-1914
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Producing Modernity in Mexico: Labour, Race, and the State in Chiapas, 1876-1914 (Hardback)

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Race, ethnicity and gender played an important role in the complex relationship between export agriculture, labour and state power in Chiapas during the regime of Porfirio Diaz (1876-1914). This case study of tropical plantation development and a major regional study of modern Mexico analyses the politics of state-building and the history of land tenure and rural labour in the state of Chiapas in the period leading up to the outbreak of Revolution in 1910.

The book also contributes to the growing history of indigenous peoples in Latin America, examining the changing relationship between Indian groups and non-Indian governments and economic interests in Chiapas during the nineteenth century. In so doing, it addresses questions of tradition, modernity, national state-building, globalisation and the development of capitalism in Latin America. The book argues that colonial caste identities and relations were no impediments to modernisation. Instead,

they were modified by liberalism, reinterpreted through the lenses of positivism and scientific racism, and managed through an increasingly centralised state apparatus. Indian communities emerge, then, not solely as oppressed and marginalised, but as an integral part of increasingly centralised state

power and as institutions through which growing demands for labour and taxes could be made.

Debt peonage, too, was upheld by the liberal state, sanctioned by the law as a natural everyday relationship, and buttressed by traditional patriarchy and gender relationships. Thus, in Chiapas the Porfirian regime recycled and redeployed pre-existing social and political relations, reinventing tradition to serve the purposes of modernisation and progress. Linked to the twin processes of export development and national state-building were racism, the spread of coercive debt peonage, the

increasing politicisation of land tenure, camarilla politics, caciquismo and growing regional divisions, which contributed to rising levels of social and political conflict prior to the arrival of northern revolutionary troops in Chiapas in 1914.

Philosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesAnthropologySocial & cultural anthropologyPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesSocial groupsEthnic studiesPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesSociologySociology: work & labour Publisher: Oxford University Press Publication Date: 29/12/2011 ISBN-13: 9780197264973  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: Currently unavailable to order online.  

Dr Sarah Washbrook (B.Soc. Sci., M.Phil., D.Phil.) studied Political Science and Sociology at the University of Birmingham before going on to complete a Master's degree in Latin American Studies and a D.Phil in Modern History at St Antony's College, Oxford. She is currently a British Academy postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Oxford

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