Mexico's Mandarins: Crafting a Power Elite for the Twenty-First Century

By Roderic Ai Camp | Go to book overview

7
Globalizing Mexico's Power Elite
The Role of Education Abroad

In Mexico and in Third World countries generally, education abroad has contributed significantly to the credentials and experiences of top leaders from many sectors of society. Mentors, both within the family and in higher education, contributed strongly to these socializing influences. The implications of those foreign influences have been taken up in classic fictional accounts, especially in African writings (or writings set in Africa), as indigenous intellectuals explore the impact of the postcolonial “been to. ”1 They have also been emphasized in the scholarly literature, which suggests that Latin American and other “elite groups are more oriented economically and culturally, towards North American and Europe than to their own countries. ”2

Study abroad was an international phenomenon throughout the entire twentieth century, as well as earlier, but it became noticeable in terms of numbers in the early 1960s. Both Europe and the United States have attracted foreign students for decades, but the United States has dominated the list of host countries in recent decades.3 In 1962, the United States

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1
For examples see Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart (New York: Anchor, 1994), and V. S. Naipaul, A Bend in the River (New York: Vintage, 1989). In his novel Guerrillas (New York: Vintage, 1990), 237, set in a different geographic context, Naipaul offers an insightful comment on the psychological explanation for foreign education: “We're a dependent people, Peter. We need other people's approval. And when people come to us with reputations made abroad we tend to look up to them. It's something you yourself have been complaining about. ”
2
Vicky Randall and Robin Theobald, Political Change and Underdevelopment:A Critical Introduction to Third World Politics, 2d ed. (Durham: Duke University Press, 1998), 15.
3
For example, one of the oldest figures in the intellectual elite, Daniel Cosío Villegas, studied at Cornell University, Harvard University, and the London School of Economics in the 1920s. He recalls being influenced by the Webb brothers and by Harold Laski. Other Fabians in England also influenced him and he studied from 1926 to 1928 under a Fabian who was very popular during this time. The U. S. and the impact of economic geography on economic policy also had some effect on his attitudes. Letter to the author, May 14, 1974.

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