Forced Sacrifice as Ethnic Protest: The Hispano Cause in New Mexico & the Racial Attitude Confrontation of 1933

Forced Sacrifice as Ethnic Protest: The Hispano Cause in New Mexico & the Racial Attitude Confrontation of 1933

Forced Sacrifice as Ethnic Protest: The Hispano Cause in New Mexico & the Racial Attitude Confrontation of 1933

Forced Sacrifice as Ethnic Protest: The Hispano Cause in New Mexico & the Racial Attitude Confrontation of 1933

Synopsis

"Forced Sacrifice as Ethnic Protest brings to light important aspects of identity politics by introducing forced sacrifice as a type of protest that ethnic minorities in the United States occasionally mount, particularly against liberal regimes in public institutions. Social science concepts and the literature on social sacrifice help define a spontaneous confrontation in which the protest crowd dramatically forces the institution to dismiss that is, to sacrifice one of its own agents as a symbolic concession to ethnic inequality and as a way to open up social reform. The Racial Attitude Confrontation of 1933, involving the Hispanos of New Mexico, is analyzed in terms of forced sacrifice. The Hispano cause is clarified as a significant tradition of ethnic mobilization that arose in the Southwest between the 1880s and the 1930s, revealing some key symbolic and instrumental elements of identity as minority groups mobilize for their interests." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The haunting idea of sacrifice has occupied Western intellectual thought since the early nineteenth century. a resurgence of interest in sacrifice appears in current-day scholarship. a major illustration is Susan Mizruchi's (1998) monumental work of literary criticism and social science analysis. Mizruchi examines the concept of sacrifice as it once prevailed in sociology, novels, and popular writing at the turn of the twentieth century. in the process she comes to see sacrifice embedded in modern thought and action, so deeply embedded, she states, “that it can be barely perceptible” (6). the motif of sacrifice thus appears in superstitious sayings and the cliches of social relations; in the desperate, quasi-suicidal violence of inner city gangs; and in the anarchy of right-wing militia terrorism.

Social thought attributes a primary function to sacrifice. Sacrifice serves to shore up the cohesion, viability, and power of definite social relations. Emile Durkheim (1965) towers as the chief exponent of this outlook. For him, a certain “mental mechanism” underlay the ancient ritual and religious sacrifices whose point was precisely to recreate the “moral being” which was, in fact, society itself (389). in a variation on this idea, a central point in the literature is that it is power that depends on sacrifice. According to the oft-observed theme, rulers fear disorder; to avoid it, sacrifice becomes a “privileged act” (Mizruchi 1998, 22) applied in order to keep the community alive or a social system flowing. Sacrifice, Mizruchi (23) emphasizes, “is necessary to the maintenance of social order, the achievement of a certain level of culture, and perpetuation of a certain kind of economy. [It] is not only necessary to modern Western society, it is basic; it makes society what it is.”

This meaning of sacrifice, defining beneficiaries and victims, can operate at a societal level. Whole categories of human beings are thus “systematically reserved for sacrificial purposes in order to protect other categories” (Mizruchi 1998, 31). Women, the young, the proletariat, and the . . .

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