Hierarchy and Trust in Modern Mexico and Brazil

By Luis Roniger | Go to book overview

and became a pillar in the foundation of national identity probably only after the Mexican Revolution. Myths of multi-ethnic integration have their structural underpinnings in the pattern of territorial expansion that characterized these Latin American nations. Unlike the situation in the United States, where the advancing frontier that pushed back natives created a longstanding cultural, and economic "exclusion" and segregation between insiders and outsiders, in the Mexican and Brazilian frontiers "ethnic, cultural and economic facets of the indigeneous society [were] absorbed within Westernizing society and [found] expression in a whole variety of eclectic cultural forms in dancing, music, plays, and folk Catholicism" ( Hennessy, 1978:19). In this connection, a national founding myth based on the theme of heroic frontier expansion did not develop in Latin America as it did in the United States (see Hennessy, 1978:6-27). This is understandable in Mexico, where the frontier myth was perceived as a threat to Mexican soil due to America's efforts to annex Mexican territory. In Brazil, this may be explained by the "heteronomic" development of frontier territories, that is, their rapid development followed by their decline in consequence of changing international agricultural demands and soil deterioration. 10

The institutional implications of the national myths of collective accommodation and harmony differ in Mexico and in Brazil. In Mexico, the unity of the national elite was challenged by contesting regional and local forces until the early 1940s. The absence of consensus or even an ideology of consensus among elite factions meant that force was usually needed in order to effect decision making, and this necessitated the parallel cooptation of large sections of the population. In Brazil, the central elites were willing to reach agreements nonviolently. Their image of pragmatism, tolerance, cooperation, moderation, and willingness to compromise was strengthened by norms and mechanisms such as the unwritten commitment to avoid violence in dealing with the opposition, even when defeated in inter-elitist contests; the willingness to progress by stages in political struggles; showing pragmatic ability instead of inflexibly adhering to principles and ideologies; and the willingness to change direction and cooperate with past competitors ( Schmitter, 1971:70-74). As none of this necessitated coopting broader strata, the Brazilian political system retained an elitist tenor and the search for connections remained more within class boundaries than in Mexico. 11

Having elaborated on the connections between center-dominant regimes and several social strata (the peasantry, organized labor, the elites), particularly as regards the relative autonomy, inner solidarity, and political participation of the strata in question, it is now necessary to consider in detail how these factors, and the social, economic, and political contexts in which they exist, have affected clientelistic arrangements.


NOTES
1.
Cooptation is defined as a process of incorporating social forces into the

-54-

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Hierarchy and Trust in Modern Mexico and Brazil
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Figures ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter 1 Clientelism and Trust 1
  • Notes 19
  • Chapter 2 Hierarchy and Clientelism in Latin America 21
  • Notes 33
  • Chapter 3 the Institutional Context of Mexico and Brazil 35
  • Notes 54
  • Chapter 4 Clientelism in Mexico 57
  • Notes 93
  • Chapter 5 Clientelism in Brazil 97
  • Notes 141
  • Chapter 6 Cross-National Comparison of Mexican and Brazilian Clientelism 145
  • Notes 156
  • Chapter 7 Multi-Dimensional Comparison of Network Variability 159
  • Notes 177
  • Chapter 8 Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Mexican and Brazilian Clientelism 179
  • Conclusion 197
  • Notes 199
  • Bibliography 203
  • Index 233
  • About the Author 237
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