Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Army, state and nation in postrevolutionary Mexico, 1920-1958
by Rath, Thomas, Ph.D., Columbia University, 2009, 266; 3393611
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation explores how the Mexican army was understood within political and civil society during the formation of the post-revolutionary state. I argue that the army's place in political culture was shaped by a complex interaction of three main factors: factional and ideological divisions within political society over state discourse and strategies towards the army; the enduring use of the army by the state as an coercive and cultural instrument of rule; and the attempts by civil society to influence the deployment and contest the meaning of the army. I illustrate the interplay of these factors in chapters exploring: changing ideas and practises of military reform in political society in the 1920s and 30s; the state's relationship with its officer corps in the 1940s; popular resistance to a new national system of conscription in 1942; politics and state-formation in the state of Puebla from the 1930s to the 1950s; and the army's attempts to shape the historical memory of the revolution through its evolving policy towards revolutionary veterans.

Through these different levels of analysis the dissertation provides a more comprehensive understanding of the army's history and the formation of the post-revolutionary state. Historians have often portrayed the Mexican army as a professional institution largely insulated from the political and cultural ferment of the period. In contrast, my research places the history of the army at the centre of contests over revolutionary citizenship and nationhood, and shows how the army shaped notions of national identity and historical memory, and at the same time policed the boundaries of political action This project also significantly adds to existing scholarship by using the history of local military practises to explore the hard-edged, coercive side of state-formation during the transition from revolutionary to PRIĆ­sta Mexico, along with civil society's responses to perceived abuses.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Piccato, Pablo
School: Columbia University
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 71/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Latin American history, Political science, Military history
Keywords: Army, Mexico, Nation, Postrevolutionary, State formation, Veterans
Publication Number: 3393611
ISBN: 9781109604863
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