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Social Stratification and Mobility in Central Veracruz

Hugo G. Nutini
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    Social Stratification and Mobility in Central Veracruz
    Book Description:

    Since the Revolution of 1910, Mexican society has undergone a profound transformation, characterized by the disempowerment of the landed aristocracy and the rise of a new ruling class of plutocrats and politicians; the development of a middle class of white-collar professionals; and the upward mobility of formerly disenfranchised Indians who have become urban, working-class Mestizos. Indeed, Mexico's class system today increasingly resembles that of Western industrialized nations, proving that, while further democratic reforms are needed, the Revolution initiated an ongoing process of change that has created a more egalitarian society in Mexico with greater opportunities for social advancement.

    This authoritative ethnography examines the transformation of social classes in the Córdoba-Orizaba region during the latter half of the twentieth century to create a model of provincial social stratification in Mexico. Hugo Nutini focuses on the increased social mobility that has affected all classes of society, especially the rural Indians who have taken advantage of education, job opportunities, and contact with the wider world to achieve Mestizo status. He also traces the transfer of power that followed the demise of the hacienda system, as well as the growing importance of the middle class. This description and analysis of the provincial social stratification system complements the work Nutini has done on the national class system, centered in Mexico City, to offer a comprehensive picture of social stratification and mobility in Mexico today.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79676-8
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xiv)
  4. Introduction. The mexican stratification system: Class Formation, Mobility, and the Changing Perspective
    (pp. 1-16)

    The social stratification of Mexico has changed greatly since the Mexican Revolution of 1910. It has evolved toward the type of class system associated with developed countries; and today, at least formally, it is not so different from that of the United States. The Mexican Revolution did not bring democracy to the country, as was the earnest expectation of the population, but it did bring about a reorganization of society from top to bottom. (Notably, this was done almost entirely within the framework of civilian rule. After the armed phase of the Revolution, which ended in 1919, the new political...

  5. Chapter 1 A Combined structural and expressive approach to the study of social stratification
    (pp. 17-40)

    The basic assumption of this book is that structural variables alone give an incomplete account of social stratification and mobility. Rather, these phenomena are understood and explained when there is a complementation of structural and expressive variables. In two books on the Mexican aristocracy and plutocracy (Nutini 1995, 2004), I demonstrate the complementarity of the objective and subjective foci as the most efficient analytical tool for approaching the study of class formation, social mobility, and persistence in the superordinate sectors of society. In this chapter I briefly put in perspective what the structural-expressive focus entails as it applies to the...

  6. Chapter 2 Córdoba and its environs: Historical, Demographic, and Geographic Considerations
    (pp. 41-47)

    The city of Córdoba is located in the temperate zone (tierra templada) in the state of Veracruz on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Madre Oriental. Together with the city of Orizaba, ten miles away, it faces Citlalteptl, an extinct volcano, also known as Pico de Orizaba, that is the second highest mountain in North America. Located on the main Mexico City–Veracruz highway and approximately seventy-five miles from the city of Veracruz, Córdoba is the market town for a large, rich agricultural area that extends from the small city of Coscomatepec in the north to the city of Zongolica...

  7. Chapter 3 The superordinate sector: The Ruling, Political, and Social Classes
    (pp. 48-79)

    The superordinate sector of society is composed of three subclasses: a small group of rich and powerful industrialists and businessmen engaged in manufacturing, trading, transportation, and agribusiness; an equally small group of local and state politicians; and an upper middle class of owners of large stores and small factories, small business concerns, and ranchers. These three groups constitute the local elite, in the social and economic sense, and together are a distinct segment of Córdoba and the region, although they do not necessarily constitute an integrated social class. It is thus best to describe them separately and as we proceed...

  8. Chapter 4 The middle stratum: The Middle and Lower Middle Classes and the Working Class
    (pp. 80-103)

    The middle stratum in Mexican society everywhere is the most difficult to visualize, to break down into subclasses, and to analyze structurally and expressively. This is certainly the case in the Córdoba region, as well as in the most affluent regions of the country and the great urban centers. One could say that the three sub-classes that are isolated and analyzed in this chapter—the middle class, the lower middle class, and the working class—are approximations of the U.S. class system as described by sociologists. One of the aims of this chapter is to determine the differences and similarities...

  9. Chapter 5 The dispossessed: Rural Lumpen, Subsistence Peasants, and the Indian-Mestizo Dichotomy
    (pp. 104-135)

    So far I have centered the description and analysis in the context of the city, primarily the Córdoba-Fortin urban hub. Here I am concerned with the rural context and its relation-ship to the urban hub. Specifically, this chapter addresses the following topics: (1) the local class structure of rural Mestizo communities and the differences with respect to the lower middle and working classes in the urban environment; (2) internal social mobility and the mobility that obtains in permanent migration to the city and in the context of community-centered migration; (3) interethnic relations, the formation of mixed communities, and the configuration...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 136-147)

    This book presents a description and analysis of social stratification and mobility in the Córdoba region. It is focused on the structural and expressive factors that have been instrumental in the class formation that has been taking place since the Revolution of 1910: the transformation from a highly stratified, nearly seigneurial system to a modern class structure, verging on that of contemporary industrial nations. A particular emphasis is the transition from Indian to Mestizo status and the crystallization of the latter in the urban environment.

    Orizaba has a slightly larger population than Córdoba. It is located fifteen miles east of...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 148-160)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 161-166)
  13. Index
    (pp. 167-178)