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American Encounters/Global Interactions

Dictablanda: Politics, Work, and Culture in Mexico, 1938–1968

Edited by
Paul Gillingham
Paul Gillingham

Paul Gillingham is a Lecturer in Latin American History at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Cuauhtémoc’s Bones: Forging National Identity in Modern Mexico.

Benjamin T. Smith is Associate Professor of Latin American History at the University of Warwick. He is author of Pistoleros and Popular Movements: The Politics of State Formation in Postrevolutionary Oaxaca.

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Benjamin Smith
Benjamin Smith

Paul Gillingham is a Lecturer in Latin American History at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Cuauhtémoc’s Bones: Forging National Identity in Modern Mexico.

Benjamin T. Smith is Associate Professor of Latin American History at the University of Warwick. He is author of Pistoleros and Popular Movements: The Politics of State Formation in Postrevolutionary Oaxaca.

Search for other works by this author on:
Duke University Press
ISBN electronic:
978-0-8223-7683-5
Publication date:
2014

In 1910 Mexicans rebelled against an imperfect dictatorship; after 1940 they ended up with what some called the perfect dictatorship. A single party ruled Mexico for over seventy years, holding elections and talking about revolution while overseeing one of the world's most inequitable economies. The contributors to this groundbreaking collection revise earlier interpretations, arguing that state power was not based exclusively on hegemony, corporatism, or violence. Force was real, but it was also exercised by the ruled. It went hand-in-hand with consent, produced by resource regulation, political pragmatism, local autonomies and a popular veto. The result was a dictablanda: a soft authoritarian regime.

This deliberately heterodox volume brings together social historians, anthropologists, sociologists, and political scientists to offer a radical new understanding of the emergence and persistence of the modern Mexican state. It also proposes bold, multidisciplinary approaches to critical problems in contemporary politics. With its blend of contested elections, authoritarianism, and resistance, Mexico foreshadowed the hybrid regimes that have spread across much of the globe. Dictablanda suggests how they may endure.

Contributors. Roberto Blancarte, Christopher R. Boyer, Guillermo de la Peña, María Teresa Fernández Aceves, Paul Gillingham, Rogelio Hernández Rodríguez, Alan Knight, Gladys McCormick, Tanalís Padilla, Wil G. Pansters, Andrew Paxman, Jaime Pensado, Pablo Piccato, Thomas Rath, Jeffrey W. Rubin, Benjamin T. Smith, Michael Snodgrass

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