Nationalist Myths and Ethnic Identities: Indigenous Intellectuals and the Mexican State
This timely study examines the processes by which modern states are created within multiethnic societies. How are national identities forged from countries made up of peoples with different and often conflicting cultures, languages, and histories? How successful is this process? What is lost and gained from the emergence of national identities? Natividad Gutiérrez examines the development of the modern Mexican state to address these difficult questions. She describes how Mexican national identity has been and is being created and evaluates the effectiveness of that process of state-building. Her investigation is distinguished by a critical consideration of cross-cultural theories of nationalism and the illuminating use of a broad range of data from Mexican culture and history, including interviews with contemporary indigenous intellectuals and students, an analysis of public-school textbooks, and information gathered from indigenous organizations. Gutiérrez argues that the modern Mexican state is buttressed by pervasive nationalist myths of foundation, descent, and heroism. These myths—expressed and reinforced through the manipulation of symbols, public education, and political discourse—downplay separate ethnic identities and work together to articulate an overriding nationalist ideology. The ideology girding the Mexican state has not been entirely successful, however. This study reveals that indigenous intellectuals and students are troubled by the relationship between their nationalist and ethnic identities and are increasingly questioning official policies of integration.
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Aguirre aimed altepetl ancient anpibac areas argued assimilation Aztec Benito Juarez bilingual Campeche central century chapter Chiapas civic colonial construction Culhuacan D1az dian digenous discourse dominant educacion education system elites emerged ethnic groups example expressed ezln Franco Gabriel Gamio Gellner graduate Hernandez heroes Hispanic ideology important Indian cultures Indian identity indige Indígenas indigenist indigenist policy indigenous intellectual indigenous languages indigenous students institutions interviews Jacinto Arias Perez Juarez Lazaro Cardenas linguistic Lopez Luis Reyes Malinche Maya Mazateco ment Mesoamerica mestizaje mestizo Mexican nationalism Mexico City Mixteco modern myth of foundation mythology Nahua Nahuatl narrative nation-state national identity national integration nationalist native Oaxaca official opinion organization origin peasant perspective political population postgraduate pre-Hispanic primary education pueblo Purepecha regarding region role rural Smith social Spaniards Spanish symbols teachers territory textbooks tion tional Tlaxcala traditions Tseltal Tzotzil women writers Yucatan Zapoteco