Chronotopes of a Dystopic Nation: The Birth of “Dependency” in Late Porfirian Mexico

Claudio Lomnitz

in Clio/Anthropos

Published by Stanford University Press

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780804760201
Published online June 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780804772402 | DOI:
Chronotopes of a Dystopic Nation: The Birth of “Dependency” in Late Porfirian Mexico

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This chapter discusses the Bakthin concept of the “chronotope” to show how the spatiotemporal frameworks were used as tools to write narratives aimed at creating a “historical consciousness” of “dependency” about Mexico's relationships with the United States during Porfirio Diaz's presidency. It reveals that chronotopes are relevant to discussions of ethnography and history and shows how chronotopes were able to form a destructive logic of dependency that effectively silenced the experiences of everyday subjects. The subtle and not-so-subtle forms of racialization that arrived through the photographs that represented Mexico are described. Finally, the chapter also extends an analysis of James Creelman's interview of President Diaz and considers the question why alternative representations of Mexico (e.g. “muckraking”) have proved to be non-translatable and silent during the chronotope of dependency period.

Keywords: chronotope; dependency; Porfirio Diaz; racialization; James Creelman; muckraking

Chapter.  12112 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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