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Mexico: The Struggle for Democratic Development, Second Edition

Daniel C. Levy
Kathleen Bruhn
With Emilio Zebadúa
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: 2
Pages: 375
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    This engaging book provides a broad and accessible analysis of Mexico's contemporary struggle for democratic development. Now completely revised, it brings up to date issues ranging from electoral reform and accountability to drug trafficking, migration, and NAFTA. It also considers the rapidly changing role of Mexico's mass and elite groups, and its national institutions, including the media, the military, and the Church.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93261-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acronyms and Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Daniel C. Levy and Kathleen Bruhn
  5. Map
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Foreword to the First Edition
    (pp. xv-xx)
    Lorenzo Meyer

    In general, the accounts of Mexican reality written by outside observers—the perspective of the “other”—have been neither better nor worse than those written by Mexicans themselves. They are simply different, and their importance lies precisely in that difference. When the view from the outside has been the combined result of good writing, intelligence, and scholarship, the result has been outstanding, as shown inThe Discovery and Conquest of Mexico(1632) by the Spanish soldier Bernal Díaz del Castillo, thePolitical Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain(1807–1811) by the Berlin scientist Alexander von Humboldt,Insurgent Mexico...

  7. CHAPTER 1 The Changing Course of Development
    (pp. 1-34)

    Democracy is central to an understanding of Mexico’s present and future. It is the main theme in the discourse over where Mexico is headed and where it ought to be headed. Deficiencies in democracy are often blamed for much of Mexico’s past and persisting problems, and democratization is commonly taken as key to the accomplishment of other development goals: with a robust democracy, economic and social gains are possible and the future will be brighter; without such democracy, the future is bleak.

    The perception that democracy is imperative has become so strong that those wishing to influence Mexico’s course of...

  8. CHAPTER 2 Legacies of Undemocratic Development
    (pp. 35-65)

    The political history of Mexico is not one of democratic development. Most Latin American countries have spotty histories of democratic rule, but Mexico ranks low even within this group. Its contemporary struggle for democracy has been an effort to achieve something that is fundamentally new. Lack of democratic precedent, however, is hardly a good reason to ignore the past. To understand the present challenges of democratization in Mexico, one must understand why democracy has been so rare there. Although today democracy appears crucial to all other major aspects of development, this has not historically been so. Mexico’s past is full...

  9. CHAPTER 3 The Rise of Political Competition
    (pp. 66-111)

    As the traditional pillars of governability eroded, Mexican politics became increasingly competitive. New actors joined the political scene, practically all framing their actions as contributions to a desired democratic transition. Even guerrilla movements claimed democracy as a goal and engaged in debates over how to define and construct Mexican democracy. Such appeals to democracy were not entirely new. The Mexican Revolution began partly in the name of democracy. Regular elections, even when they did not determine who would govern, incorporated democracy as a legitimating principle. On the Right, the conservative National Action Party (PAN) has stressed electoral legality since its...

  10. CHAPTER 4 Difficult Democracy
    (pp. 112-148)

    The rise of competitive politics marks democratic progress, and the 2000 elections helped earn Mexico the democratic label. However, competition is still plagued by limitations, and so are other necessary components of democracy. Novelist Mario Vargas Llosa now calls Mexico a “difficult democracy.”¹ A happy upgrade from “the perfect dictatorship,” the term aptly suggests the sense that the struggle for democracy continues.

    To refer to Mexico as democratic is, therefore, to refer to a democracy encumbered with adjectives. Introduced in Chapter 1,semidemocracyis a term that captures much of recent Mexican politics. For Mexican politics starting in 2000,democracy...

  11. CHAPTER 5 The State and the Market
    (pp. 149-179)

    Mexico’s political opening parallels a corresponding economic opening. Like many countries in the developing and postcommunist world, Mexico has moved in a startlingly brief period from a relatively closed economy with a strong state role to a relatively open economy with a still important but less activist state. Like other countries Mexico has experienced adjustment problems as a result, which affect the process of political change. A central theme in this chapter is the causal connection between economic reform and political change. In some ways the liberalization of markets contributes to political liberalization. As economic functions formerly performed by the...

  12. CHAPTER 6 Mexico in a U.S.-Led World
    (pp. 180-209)

    No observation about Mexico’s place in the world is repeated as often as that attributed to turn-of-the-century Mexican president Porfirio Díaz: “Poor Mexico: So far from God and so close to the United States.” Of course the statement’s enduring wit plays on the unique problems Mexico faces in having such a powerful neighbor, an emerging world power in Díaz’s day, the world’s unmatched superpower today. However one weighs those problems against the benefits Mexico gains from that closeness, the quotation’s incontestable truth is that the United States is crucial for Mexico. Indeed, U.S. influence is greater today than when Díaz...

  13. CHAPTER 7 Bilateral Issues
    (pp. 210-257)

    Because the relationship with the United States remains fundamental to Mexico, in this chapter we focus on key issues in the Mexico-U.S. relationship to understand how these issues affect Mexican foreign and domestic policy. Specifically, we look at drugs, migration, tourism, and trade to examine the main bilateral interactions, motivations, perceptions, and impacts. General patterns identified in Chapter 6 play out in concrete form in these issues. Each issue illustrates both Mexico’s increased closeness with the United States and the revamped domestic policy–foreign policy nexus. Each issue also illustrates how increased closeness does not guarantee smoother relations. Cooperation is...

  14. CHAPTER 8 The Struggle for Democratic Development
    (pp. 258-278)

    During the period from 1988 to 1994—a time of relative economic recovery in Mexico—a survey found an average of eleven books per year published about Mexico (in English and Spanish) with the wordcrisisin the title. These books portrayed an era of rising uncertainty, crisis on multiple levels, and questions about Mexico’s economic and political future. During the first four years of the Fox administration,onlyfour books per year contained the word “crisis” in their title. Instead, more authors focused on “democracy” and “transition” as central themes for understanding Mexico’s trajectory.

    This book was one of...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 279-324)
  16. Selected References
    (pp. 325-348)
  17. Index
    (pp. 349-355)