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    Book Description:

    A uniquely Tejano version of the old-fashioned political barbeque, the traditional South Texas pachanga allowed politicians to connect with voters in a relaxed setting where all could enjoy live music and abundant food and drink along with political speeches and dealmaking. Today's pachanga still combines politics, music, and votes-along with a powerful new element. Corporate sponsorships have transformed the pachanga into a major marketing event, replete with celebrity performers and product giveaways, which can be recorded and broadcast on TV or radio to vastly increase the reach of the political-and the commercial-messages.

    This book explores the growing convergence of politics, transnational marketing, and borderlands music in the South Texas pachanga. Anthropologist Margaret Dorsey has observed some one hundred pachangas and interviewed promoters, politicians, artists, and local people. She investigates how candidates and corporations market their products to Hispanic consumers, as well as how the use of traditional music for marketing is altering traditional forms such as the corrido. Her multifaceted study also shows clearly that the lines of influence run both ways-while corporate culture is transforming the traditions of the border, Tejano voters/consumers only respond to marketing appeals (whether for politicians or products) that resonate with their values and the realities of their lives. Far from being an example of how transnational marketing homogenizes culture, the pachanga demonstrates that local cultures can exert an equally strong influence on multinational corporations.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79626-3
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. 1-20)

    Scissors in hand, I sat in my apartment gleaning theCorpus Christi Caller-Timesfor commentary on the 1998 political campaigns when a photograph made me pause. Rising out of a sea of sign-waving supporters, George W. Bush and Tejano music icon Emilio Navaira stood side by side with their hands clasped together high above their cowboy hats. The article explained that their visit to the hybrid restaurant Wok-a-Mole was part of Bush’s gubernatorial campaign sweep through South Texas. “Emilio” played a special rewritten version of his hit song “Mano a Mano” (Hand-in-Hand). Bush ultimately captured over one-third of the Hispanic...

  5. PART I Political Pachangas, Marketing, and Music

    • ONE A History and Style of Association Music, Pachangas, and Politics in South Texas
      (pp. 23-50)

      Political marketers deploy music and pachangas as a strategy to build publics by producing attachments to a politician, a political campaign, and a political party. In this chapter, I contextualize the pachangas that took place in Hidalgo County during the year 2000 political season by providing a general background of borderlands music and pachangas in terms of their politicized history in relation to issues of race and gender. Next, I describe the features that mark a contemporary, locally based, dance-hall style political pachanga, and ultimately through this discussion, I suggest that political pachangas are a distinct style of event: they...

    • TWO Marketing Pachangas The Budgirls
      (pp. 51-68)

      In this chapter, I focus on the use of direct live-music events in corporate marketing campaigns to produce publics. National and transnational marketers herald live-music event marketing because they believe it creates “passion” and brand loyalty. Experienced corporate marketers use this tool well.

      My research focuses on channels of ethnic marketing evident in live-music events. “Ethnic marketing” is in its formative phases, and trade journals detail the strategies of successful “ethnic marketing” campaigns. Literature on marketing to ethnically defined groups emphasizes the role of music in effective advertising campaigns. In these campaigns, advertisers focus attention on “ethnic markets,” “live events,”...

    • THREE Budweiser′s Hispanic Scholarship Fund Fiesta Extravaganza
      (pp. 69-86)

      On Friday, November 3, the early voting polls closed, and Hidalgo County’s election commission began to prepare for Election Day. Al Gore’s frenzied itinerary for the last few days was frequently discussed on radio, television, and in the newspapers. November 5 was the last Sunday in the campaign to attend and host pachangas, and oddly, LaMantia Budweiser chose that day to host a grand party to raise funds for Hispanic education. Despite the enticing invitation, I assumed that candidates would be too busy block walking and attending public political pachangas to show up at the Budweiser event.

      The large paved...

    • FOUR Out of a Social Gathering, Music Galvanizing Persons into Politics
      (pp. 87-120)

      In this chapter, I demonstrate that political climate, political style, musical style, and the songwriter’s attitude resoundingly effect an audience’s entrance into politics. By analyzing musicians’ and politicians’ narratives about the production and reception of two political campaign songs—“El Corrido del Juez” and “El Aliseda es el Bueno,” written for Ed Aparicio and Ernest Aliseda, respectively—I elaborate on the mechanics surrounding the transformation of a song into a marketing vehicle for political identification. I argue that an understanding of the media package and the conditions of production are crucial to understanding the songs’ transformation. I relate politicians’ and...

  6. PART II Democracy and the Borderlands: Two Versions

    • FIVE Pachanga Moves A Local Republican and a National Democratic Gathering
      (pp. 123-146)

      Events run the risk of decreasing the velocity of objects in motion, and one of the more obvious ways in which they do this is through not connecting with other channels, sizes, scales, and event forms—by lacking intertextuality. My discussion of pachangas started with Letty Lopez’s dance, an event form that is most clearly in response to (and contact with) the traditional, exclusively male pachanga of the country. In this chapter, I discuss two pachangas less connected to this form: one held to publicize the Aliseda campaign and one organized by the Democratic National Committee. I explain that both...

    • SIX Ace Hardware National Corporate Marketers Learn How the Locals Do It
      (pp. 147-167)

      This statement anticipates the process of a group of national corporate officers and marketers learning about and making plans for their next campaign. Central to this process is a discourse about Hispanic market share in which music and family play a prominent role. The commentary above shows marketers beginning to understand the area’s potential: “This is a market with money. How do we reach them?” The sophisticated discourse of marketers in South Texas demonstrates their ability not just to reach markets but to make them. Advertising is metaculture, and this chapter concerns the process of advertising and building markets—i.e.,...

    • SEVEN A Private Event for a Public Servant “Mr. Vega” Meets Modernity
      (pp. 168-183)

      By definition a private gathering is not known publicly, and this is the case with Judge Eloy Pulido’s live-music fund-raising event described below. My encounters with Pulido provide a useful frame to enter the semi-exclusive and often guarded world of fund raising and live-event marketing. This event also provides a means of illuminating issues regarding traditional, patriarchal South Texas voting customs as well as “old-style” and “new-style” political marketing practices.

      Before being elected a county judge and rising through the ranks of the education administration, Pulido worked as a music manager for his brother, Roberto Pulido. Roberto Pulido y Los...

  7. Conclusions
    (pp. 184-192)

    In this text, I have focused on the ways in which politicians and marketers deploy democracy through music. My ethnographic study of the pachanga indicates that marketers, candidates, and musicians have taken this traditional form and used it to achieve political ends and articulate local knowledge in a global context. The form of pachanga has never been fixed, but in recent years it has become increasingly transformed by agents who have restyled it and, in the process, altered its meaning. People decide to attend these social functions, where they relax, have fun, and talk politics, family, and fortune. But my...

  8. NOTES
    (pp. 193-206)
    (pp. 207-222)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 223-235)