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Rural Protest and the Making of Democracy in Mexico, 1968-2000 (Paperback)
  • Rural Protest and the Making of Democracy in Mexico, 1968-2000 (Paperback)

Rural Protest and the Making of Democracy in Mexico, 1968-2000 (Paperback)

Paperback 264 Pages / Published: 30/04/2012
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When the PRI fell from power in the elections of 2000, scholars looked for an explanation. Some focused on international pressures, while others pointed to recent electoral reforms. In contrast, Dolores Trevizo argues that a more complete explanation takes much earlier democratizing changes in civil society into account. Her book explores how largely rural protest movements laid the groundwork for liberalization of the electoral arena and the consolidation of support for two opposition parties, the PAN on the right and the PRD on the left, that eventually mounted a serious challenge to the PRI. She shows how youth radicalized by the 1968 showdown between the state and students in Mexico City joined forces with peasant militants in nonviolent rural protest to help bring about needed reform in the political system. In response to this political effervescence in the countryside, agribusinessmen organized in peak associations that functioned like a radical social movement. Their countermovement formulated the ideology of neoliberalism, and they were ultimately successful in mobilizing support for the PAN. Together, social movements and the opposition parties nurtured by them contributed to Mexico's transformation from a one-party state into a real electoral democracy nearly a hundred years after the Revolution.

Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press
ISBN: 9780271037882
Number of pages: 264
Weight: 544 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm

"[Rural Protest and the Making of Democracy in Mexico, 1968-2000] is an ambitious and mature book, rich in complexities and depth while keeping the big picture in focus. Using a mixed-methods approach [Dolores Trevizo] looked at primary sources in the United States and Mexico, conducted interviews, read participant auto-biographies, and did an extensive review of secondary sources, census data, national security archives, human rights reports, along with a quantitative analysis of peasant protests from an event catalogue constructed from reports in the then independent Mexican newspaper Excelsior between 1970 and 1975. Few stones are left unturned. . . . This book is a worthy read for scholars interested in leftist social movements, right-wing countermovements, democratization, and recent Mexican history."

-Ernesto Castaneda, Contemporary Sociology

"Traditional accounts of democratization tend to credit elites with most of the `heavy lifting' via the fashioning of democratic `pacts.' More recently, a newer generation of scholars has focused attention on the role of grassroots movements in democratizing episodes. In her exemplary account of the fall of the PRI from power in Mexico, Trevizo does both, arguing that it was the complex interaction between grassroots and elite groups that ultimately undermined the party's hold on power. In doing so, she also extends her analysis over a much longer period of time than most studies of democratization. The result is one of the richest, most detailed accounts of democratization produced to date."

-Doug McAdam, Stanford University

"Rural Protest and the Making of Democracy in Mexico, 1968-2000 provides a unique, in-depth exploration of the underlying causes of Mexico's democratic electoral transition. Dolores Trevizo, relying on years of field research, analyzes the importance of the 1968 student massacre for distributing student leaders among nonviolent peasant movements in the 1970s and 1980s. The author pursues an original strategy, providing case studies of the prodemocratic agrarian movements and the businessmen who strengthened the PRD and the PAN, respectively, in their opposition to the PRI. She enhances our understanding of how the PRI combined a complex, repressive, and pluralistic approach to different groups in its ultimately failed attempt to put a lid on the legitimacy crisis created in 1968."

-Roderic Ai Camp, Claremont McKenna College

"This study of Mexico's political history is ambitious in its chronological and intellectual range, and varied in its approach. . . . Engaging with the literature on new social movements, the author makes her case with statistical analysis on rural protests and by arguing for the importance of leadership."

-J. M. Rosenthal, Choice

"[Rural Protest and the Making of Modern Democracy in Mexico, 1968-2000] powerfully reveals how developments in rural Mexico fostered electoral democratization, manifested in the victory of the opposition (the PAN) in the 2000 and 2006 presidential elections. . . . It adds a very important dimension to our understanding of the emergence of Mexico's still-young and incomplete democracy by showing how events in the rural parts of the country invigorated both the left and the right. The author provides a wealth of data to support her conclusions, derived in part from extensive field work and the equally extensive use of primary documents. Moreover, she utilizes a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches to analyze these data in sophisticated ways. . . . [This] is a very interesting, comprehensive, and original addition to the literature on Mexican democratization."

-Juan D. Lindau, Political Science Quarterly

"[Rural Protest and the Making of Modern Democracy in Mexico, 1968-2000] powerfully reveals how developments in rural Mexico fostered electoral democratization, manifested in the victory of the opposition (the PAN) in the 2000 and 2006 presidential elections."

-Juan D. Lindau, Political Science Quarterly

"Detailed and meticulously researched, this book offers an important contribution to the scholarship of Mexican politics and social sciences."

-Claire Brewster, Journal of Latin American Studies

"Trevizo raises fresh insights into the evolution of Mexico's democratic transition and on the role of these groups in generating electoral change, opposition party growth, and the establishment of human rights organizations. The author's broader theoretical findings on actions and reactions among social movements, and between those movements and the state, offer valuable comparative material for studies of past or ongoing change in other political systems."

-Roderic Ai Camp, Perspectives on Politics

"In a sweeping and ambitious work, part historiography, part social movement ethnography, and part quantitative assessment of human rights and democratization, Dolores Trevizo has convincingly called several aspects of [the stylized story of Mexico's transition to democracy] into question in her opus Rural Protest and the Making of Democracy in Mexico. This smart and enterprising book offers an important critique of the conventional wisdom, and, even more important, lays the groundwork for a more nuanced formulation of Mexico's dramatic transition. . . .

". . . The implications of this important book will be with us for some time as we use her wisdom to consider how social movements can take on authoritarians and win, staging their battles from the countryside as well as from the cities. Rural Protest and the Making of Democracy in Mexico is necessary reading for all students of democracy, human rights, social movements, and political opportunity structures, from the Suez Canal to Tierra del Fuego."

-Todd Eisenstadt, American Journal of Sociology

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