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Mexico’s Mandarins

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

Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 319
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  • Book Info
    Mexico’s Mandarins
    Book Description:

    This groundbreaking study marks the culmination of over twenty years of research by one of this country's most prominent Mexico scholars. Roderic Ai Camp provides a detailed, comprehensive examination of Mexico's power elite-their political power, societal influence, and the crucial yet often overlooked role mentoring plays in their rise to the top. In the course of this book, he traces the careers of approximately four hundred of the country's most notable politicians, military officers, clergy, intellectuals, and capitalists. Thoroughly researched and drawn from in-depth interviews with some of Mexico's most powerful players,Mexico's Mandarinsprovides insight into the machinations of Mexican leadership and an important glimpse into the country's future as it steps onto the global stage.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93638-6
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)

    • 1 Mexican Power Elites: Do They Exist?
      (pp. 3-17)

      This is a book about how leaders are formed. It is based on the notion that elites exist, that they matter, that they function in all areas of society, and that they exert a crucial influence on their replacements, acting as mentors to successive generations of younger leaders.¹ This work explores and identifies numerous features of Mexican leadership, and more broadly, reveals qualities which exist in numerous Third World settings, including many outside the Western hemisphere.

      This study focuses on four central, interrelated issues. First, it establishes the existence and importance of a power elite in Mexico. It describes the...

    • 2 Mentoring Mexico’s Power Elite
      (pp. 18-34)

      The formation of a power elite depends on many variables and influences. In seeking out how power elites acquire their values and make professional and educational choices, and how they network with one another, I discovered that in the Mexican case, mentors play a crucial role. The most original contribution of the present study is the striking evidence it provides to support the belief that mentors are crucial actors in determining many characteristics of the power elite. Incredibly, no other available studies were discovered which document their role or their group characteristics.¹

      All societies and all organizations at every level...

    • 3 Networking within Power Elite Circles
      (pp. 35-61)

      I have made the blanket statement that a power elite, if it is thought of as a group of leaders who through organizational positions and roles are responsible for maintaining societal structures and shaping policies, exists in Mexico. I also maintain that a power elite, defined as individualsdirectlyexercising influence in two or more sectors of society, does not exist in Mexico. Evidence for both of these statements is revealed through a careful exploration of elite networks.

      Students examining the interrelationship between decision making and power elites argue that “access is the single most important resource in decision making.”¹...

    • 4 Networking across Power Elite Circles
      (pp. 62-94)

      I have argued that a power elite, in the narrow sense, exists in Mexico. A small number of influential figures have influenced many of the decisionswithintheir respective policy arenas, whether they are cultural, political, economic, military, or religious. The applicability of power elite theory breaks down dramatically if it is conceptualized as a small group of elites who directly exercise influence over policies and attitudes in two or more policy arenas. Therefore, scholars have attempted to demonstrate the breadth of this influence by identifying the extent to which any individual holds a position in two or more power...


    • 5 Origins of Socialization: Sources among the Power Elite
      (pp. 97-121)

      From 1970 through 2000, Mexico has witnessed exceptional alterations in social, economic, and political attitudes; it has been perhaps the most dynamic period since the revolutionary decades from 1910 through 1929. It is important, therefore, to explain how that shift came about, what it involved, and what socializing sources were most responsible for crafting fresh attitudes among power elite members.

      In the previous two chapters, I examined the networking characteristics of Mexican power elites, arguing that mentors play a crucial role in creating and recruiting power elites and in generating networking ties to each other. The way in which power...

    • 6 Socialization through Education the Mexican Way
      (pp. 122-151)

      Family, career, residence, and major social events all contributed to the socialization of Mexico’s power elite. But for many elite members, education has exerted a decisive influence the exact nature of which varies considerably from one group to another. Education can be conceptualized as a shared career experience for clergy and military officers since it occurs primarily within their respective professional or institutional environment, the Catholic Church and the Mexican armed forces.¹

      The socializing role of education on Mexican power elites is enhanced by the fact that many of the mentors identified by the power elite established contact with their...

    • 7 Globalizing Mexico’s Power Elite: The Role of Education Abroad
      (pp. 152-166)

      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...

    • 8 Socializing Mexico’s Power Elite: Educational Experiences Abroad
      (pp. 167-208)

      A fundamental ideological shift occurred among Mexico’s power elite from 1970 to 2000: the transformation of the development model from a protected economy, a centralized political system dominated by the executive branch, and a one-party monopoly of political power, to an outward-looking model of economic growth, a decentralized political system, and power-sharing on the state level and in the national legislative branch.

      These changes can be attributed to the failures of long-standing political and economic strategies which characterized the Mexican scene from the 1930s through the 1980s. They can also be attributed to fundamental changes in power elite attitudes, the...


    • 9 Decision Making, Networking, and Organizations
      (pp. 211-228)

      The first two parts of this book set forth an argument about the existence and influence of power elites in Mexico, analyzing in detail the means by which influential Mexicans are linked to each other within and across power elite circles and further developing the crucial role mentors have played in the recruitment, networking, and socialization process. Part 2 identifies the significance of various agents of socialization which have contributed to important power elite values and provides substantial evidence demonstrating the impact of elite educational experiences both at home and abroad. Part 3 explores the connection between networking and decision...

    • 10 Power Elite Prototypes in the Twentieth Century: The Old and the New
      (pp. 229-254)

      The formation of Mexican leaders over the last half of the twentieth century followed numerous paths. The present examination of these patterns among various leadership groups demonstrates significant changes in the agents likely to exercise an influence on elite values and beliefs in the next millennium. These altered patterns in turn will affect how leaders are recruited and the mentors who will reinforce their credentialing process, career experiences, and ideological direction.

      This chapter divides Mexico’s power elite into two major generations, those born between 1910 and 1940, and those born after 1940. The first generation was responsible for continuing a...

    • 11 Power Elites in the Twenty-First Century: Consequences of New Leadership
      (pp. 255-280)

      The end of the year 2000, and the inauguration of Vicente Fox, marked the culmination of the political and economic trends in Mexico since the mid-1980s. The beginning of a new century does not promise the creation of a different leadership from the end of the last century; rather it suggests that certain types of power elites who achieved prominence in the last two decades are likely to expand their numbers in the first decades of the present century.

      Power elites enjoy a healthy and vigorous influence as Mexico welcomes the twenty-first century. They have not declined in importance. In...

  8. Bibliographic Essay
    (pp. 281-290)
  9. Index
    (pp. 291-308)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 309-309)