Hierarchy and Trust in Modern Mexico and Brazil

By Luis Roniger | Go to book overview

Chapter 4
Clientelism in Mexico

HISTORICAL OVERVIEW

In modern Mexico, the best known pattern of clientelism has been caciquismo. As a modern phenomenon, caciquismo refers to the networks and power domains of local and regional politico-economic entrepreneurs who have entrenched themselves into informal and minor formal positions in the political and administrative frameworks. Historically, however, the meaning of the term has changed several times since the sixteenth century, when it was adopted in mainland Mesoamerica during what Charles Gibson called the hispanization of the social hierarchies of Indian chiefs ( Alegría, 1952; Enciclopedia, 1958:259-60; Gibson, 1980; Carrasco, et al., 1976).

In early colonial times in Mexico, Indian caciques and principales (the latter denoting a lower rung of power-holding) acceded to municipal government positions created and endorsed by the Spanish viceroyalty through principles of inheritance. From these positions they controlled the royal and encomienda tribute collections from Indian maceguales (commoners) and administered justice. Thus, their formal positions allowed them opportunities for coercion, extortion, and embezzlement. Eventually they came to act as middlemen for filling labor quotas and delivering workers, and were collectors of specific tributes, in kind and in personal services, owed to the Spanish encomenderos.

By the end of the sixteenth century the hereditary principle had begun to lose ground as the sole criterion of access to cacique status. Ambitious maceguales could attain this status by engaging in commerce, by adopting a Spanish life-style (under the encouragement of the friars), or by being favored by the encomenderos. By late colonial times most original cacicazgos (instances of caciquismo) had either disappeared or had a precarious existence. The few remaining powerful cacicazgos were already related to

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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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