Sarah Washbrook

in Producing Modernity in Mexico

Published by British Academy

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780197264973
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754128 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Monographs


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This book analyzes production and modernity in pre-revolutionary Mexico, focusing specifically on the relationship between labour, race, and the state in Chiapas during the Porfiriato. The thirty-five-year dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz (1876–1911) was a key period in the history of modern Mexico. Following upon fifty years of political turmoil and economic stagnation after independence, the regime oversaw an unprecedented period of growth and political modernization, which ended in the ‘first social revolution of the twentieth century’ (1910–20). In order to understand the twin processes of state formation and market development that took place in Mexico during these years, the book examines changing political, economic, and social relations in the southern state of Chiapas between Díaz's seizure of national power in the Tuxtepec rebellion of 1876 and the arrival of revolutionary troops in the state capital, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, in 1914. In this period Chiapas was subject to the same processes and tendencies that took place throughout the Mexican republic, which centred on rapid export-led development and growing political centralization. However, the state's distinct regional characteristics — notably its majority Mayan Indian population, polarized ethnic relations, strong historical and administrative links to Central America, and poor communications with the rest of Mexico — also contributed to the particular quality of modernization and modernity in Chiapas.

Keywords: Chiapas; Porfiriato; state formation; market development; modernization; Porfirio Díaz

Chapter.  5423 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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