Akizshura What he wishes to demonstrate to the general reader is the mutability of national and ethnic identities largely regarded as fixed by the Mexican public. Departing from conventional approaches, however, Florescano attempts to tease symbols of ethnic identity from the archaeological record and demonstrate how changing political configurations manipulated ethnicity and ethnic groups, issues that in the main have escaped the attention of prehistorians. Amazon Music Stream millions of songs. Amazon Inspire Digital Educational Resources.
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Hispanic American Historical Review By Enrique Florescano. Nuevo Siglo. Mexico City: Aguilar, Maps Tables. That the present is shaped by the past is an axiom that few scholars of Latin American history have used so explicitly to inform their work as Enrique Florescano does in this sweeping overview of cultural politics in Mexico.
Troubled by the limited public and political understanding of the realities of indigenous life that the Zapatista rebellion revealed, Florescano set upon an ambitious project to trace the broad historical roots of the current crisis.
Beginning with the Precolumbian origins of Mesoamerican cultural and political formations, this book explores the changing relationship between ethnicity and the state in Mexico through the prehistoric, colonial and early national periods, culminating with the brutal repression of Yaqui and Maya rebellions during the Porfiriato.
What he wishes to demonstrate to the general reader is the mutability of national and ethnic identities largely regarded as fixed by the Mexican public. As his historical survey suggests, these identities have in reality long been subject to manipulation by political leaders and social groups.
In the classic "primordialist" vs. Yet at the same time he acknowledges the enduring values of community and sacred space that have persisted in Mesoamerica since the beginnings of agricultural life.
Departing from conventional approaches, however, Florescano attempts to tease symbols of ethnic identity from the archaeological record and demonstrate how changing political configurations manipulated ethnicity and ethnic groups, issues that in the main have escaped the attention of prehistorians.
If at times his conclusions push the limits of reasonable inference, even the most skeptical reader will be prompted to reconsider his or her own received understandings. Several basic principles about indigenous ethnicity emerge from the complex regional and temporal variations surveyed here. Florescano concurs with James Lockhart and others that the altepetl or independent community was the fundamental unit of ethnic identification in Precolumbian Mesoamerica, subsuming all other social groups like lineages, guilds, and residential wards.
Its connection with the physical landscape, where the supernatural forces of decay and regeneration were at work, reinforced the sacredness of the community and gave authority to its hereditary rulers. Reviewing familiar ethnohistorical ground, Florescano points out that numerous institutions of the colonial state, from the parish church to cabildo government and the Indian court, actually reinforced an altepetl-based ethnic identification to which native society was already predisposed.
At the same time, the Spanish creole populations sought to map its own cultural identity on the landscape, finding its legitimizing symbols in the idealized Aztec Empire, while ignoring or reviling the Indian present. When the Bourbon Reforms abolished many paternalistic institutions that had protected the corporate nature of community life for two hundred years, violent native resistance increased in frequency and intensity.
Liberal politicians later enshrined nationality in the person of the individual citizen at the expense of collective rights, and Indian communities found their lands and livelihood under continuous assault following Mexican Independence.
Where resistance took a millenarian cast, what Florescano dubs "charismatic theocracies" were capable of forging regional alliances among traditionally autonomous communities. Yet few native leaders held truly nativistic agendas that would restore a mythic Indian state, despite the fears these movements aroused among the outnumbered provincial white population. Instead it was politicians and [End Page ] the press that labeled these movements "caste wars," language that was used to justify brutal suppression in the cause of defending the nation, while the real needs of native communities were disregarded.
Florescano ends his far-reaching, if sometimes uneven review rather abruptly on the eve of the Mexican Revolution. However instructive it would have been to see events and institutions followed through to the late twentieth-century crisis that inspired this project initially, Florescano clearly feels that he has accomplished his primary goal within these pages of text.
That this national culture assumes itself to be superior in nature to that of the dominated Indians is not unique, for as Florescano points out, the Spanish conquest state justified itself as a civilizing enterprise as well.
The loss of that hope and the ethnic violence that filled its place is the historical legacy this important book underscores. Judith Francis Zeitlin.
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