Mexico City: Space to Mourn, Time to Spend


in Mexico City through History and Culture

Published by British Academy

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780197264461
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734625 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Occasional Papers

Mexico City: Space to Mourn, Time to Spend

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This chapter describes Mexico City through the observant eyes of Carlos Monsiváis, an influential and engaging commentator of the transformations of the city. This urban cronica offers snapshots of the post-apocalyptic city. It looks at the different ways in which the ordinary people negotiate and appropriate urban space or the lack of space in the city and amusingly presents such snapshots of Mexico City as its source of pride. Blending humour with social criticism, the chapter discusses the ‘humanism of squeeze’ and the pluralism on the metro and subway of Mexico wherein singularity and anonymity is abolished by squeezing the nation into an entire square meter. The chapter also offers political criticisms for the travails of working and marginalized people with a sense of wit including the attempts for the Americanization of some of the cities of the nation.

Keywords: Mexico City; Carlos Monsiváis; urban space; lack of space; humanism of squeeze; pluralism; Americanization

Chapter.  2985 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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